MARPOL Annex VI & Air pollution
MARPOL Annex VI sets limits on sulphur oxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from ship exhausts and prohibits deliberate emissions of ozone depleting substances. It also contains provisions allowing for special SOx Emission Control Areas (SECAS) to be established with more stringent controls on sulphur emissions.
On the 1st January 2010 the EU implemented its requirement that ships burn fuel of 0.1 per cent sulphur content or less when they are within EU ports or within EU inland waterways.
On the 1st July 2010 this requirement was extended offshore into Emissions Control Areas (ECA) which include the North Sea and the Baltic Sea.
In the United States, the California Air Resource Board implemented a corresponding directive on low sulphur fuels with effect from 1st January. Phase II of that directive, imposing stricter levels of sulphur content, is scheduled for 2012.
The US Emissions Control Area would include the entire coastline of the lower 48 states, south-eastern Alaska and the main Hawaiian Islands, extending 200 nautical miles from the coastline.
Policy & convention information
International Maritime Organisation (IMO)
The best starting point in the IMO website is the Marine Environment section. Click on the blue button labelled “Marine Environment” and a dedicated menu item on ‘Air pollution’ appears in a right hand menu. Click on that item to view an extensive overview of MARPOL Annex VI and related items such as the full text of the convention and explanation of the work of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC).
California Air Resources Board
This organisation has published a series of marine notices regarding the implementation of air emissions regulations. These notices include the requirements for ships to maintain records on fuel use within the regulated area.
In November 2002, the European Commission adopted a European Union strategy to reduce atmospheric emissions from seagoing ships. A dedicated area on the Commission website provides information on the status and development of its directives on air pollution from ships.
This section includes as special Q& A sheet relating to the Directive 1999/32/EC in regard to use of low sulphur fuels at berth.
Lloyds Register has recently published two useful magazine features explaining the developments in air pollution regulation with regard to ship design and operation.
- Shipping and the environment. - An insightful look at the environmental issues that are affecting the shipping industry.
- Horizons magazine - EU Sulphur Directive ‘at berth’ requirements (page 37)
A number of guidelines and FAQ documents on the topic are also available in the Document Finder service in Lloyds Register website e.g. ‘At Berth’ requirements FAQs
- New sulphur limits in marine fuel – guidance for maintaining engine and boiler safety and availability
Air emissions for tankers encompass both engine exhaust and emissions from cargoes.
Intertanko maintains resources for its members on responding to the MARPOL VI requirements including a management plan which can be purchased and downloaded online and a policy statement. Access to both these resources is restricted to Intertanko members only and requires a website username and password.
A copy of the brochure for the Intertanko energy efficiency management plan can be found here.
Emissions are covered in three areas of their website – Air Emission/Annex VI; Air Emission GHGs and Environment.
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