The United Arab Emirates has added the Cameroon flag to its list of flag states which it now considers a matter for concern. Unless Cameroon-flagged ships are classed by a member of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) or by Tasneef (the UAE classification society), they will be barred from entering Emirati waters. Local maritime service providers told not to have any dealings with these blacklisted ships. Other flag states on the UAE’s blacklist include Albania, Belize, North Korea, Sao Tome and Principe, Tonga, Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Tanzania.
The Cameroon register has grown quickly over the past couple of years, in tandem with the increase in the number of dark fleet tankers. Several port states have expressed concerns about the efficiency of the insurance of these vessels, should an accident occur. The safety risks are also considered greater because these ships have a considerably older average age. The flag of Cameroon is also blacklisted by the Paris MoU on Port State Control.
There is something of an irony here, as a considerable percentage of dark fleet tankers have links of one kind or another to Dubai.
A recent assessment of what it terms of the size of this “grey” fleet put it at 675 vessels – 7.4% of the global tanker fleet.
BRS stated in a recent weekly tanker report that “considering that the average age of these ships is 21 while their certification and insurance is opaque, we consider that these tankers are the most worrisome from an environmental and regulatory perspective”.