882 - 04/13 - Air Emissions Reminder - US

The Club would like to remind Members of the air quality emissions requirements for North America and California after two cases where vessels have been fined for not performing the fuel switch over. Members should ensure that all vessel Masters and Chief Engineers are familiar with the requirements and perform the necessary fuel change over at the required nautical mile mark.

North American Emission Control Area 

Vessels operating within the North American ECA of 200 NM the sulphur content of fuel used on board must not exceed 1.0 % on or after August 1st 2012.

All ships using separate fuel oils when operating within the ECA are required to carry a written fuel oil change over procedure containing a step by step procedure for carrying out the fuel oil changeover, date, time and position of the vessel and methods for calculating the time necessary to ensure the fuel oil service system is fully flushed of all fuel oils exceeding the sulphur content limit prior to entering the ECA. 

The fuel oil change over should be recorded in the engine room log book. 


For vessels operating within 24 NM of California waters, the sulphur content of fuel for marine gas oil (MGO) must not exceed 1.0% or marine diesel oil (MDO) used must not exceed 0.5% on or after August 1st 2012.

Beginning January 2014 these limits will drop to 0.1% for MGO and MDO.

All ships performing the fuel change over must maintain records in English that contain the following information for at least 3 years:

  • The date, local time and position of the vessel for each entry into California regulated waters
  • At the initiation and completion when any fuel switching procedure occurs
  • The moment all engines have completely transitioned from operation on one fuel to another fuel.
  • The type of fuel used (marine gas oil MGO or marine diesel oil MDO or heavy fuel oil)
  • The amounts and actual percent by weight sulphur content in each auxiliary engine, main engine and auxiliary boiler.

Any person who commits a violation of any provision is subject to penalties specified in the Health and Safety Code.

More information on US Air Pollution regulations can be found at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website here


Source of Information:

George Radu

Thomas Miller (Americas)
San Francisco, USA

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)


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