TB22 - Sulphur oxide emissions

Annex VI, regulation 14, of Marpol dealing with the emission of sulphur oxides became effective from May 2006

Ship operators should be aware of Annex VI of Marpol which refers to regulations for the prevention of air pollution from ships and, in particular, regulation 14 which deals with the emission of sulphur oxides (SOx), which entered into force in May 2005 and into effect from May 2006.

The sulphur content of any fuel oil used on board shall not exceed 4.5% by mass. Suppliers of marine fuels must be vetted by the authorities of the country in which they operate. The supplier must provide a representative fuel sample obtained using a continuous drip sampler from the bunker manifold, together with a bunker receipt, stating the percentage of sulphur content of the fuel supplied.

SOx emission control areas (SECAs) are also set up, in the Baltic and North Sea including the English Channel, where the sulphur content of fuel burnt must not exceed 1.5% by mass. The Baltic SECA has been enforced from May 2006, the North Sea and English Channel SECA is due to enter into force in November 2006 and will be enforced for IMO purposes from November 2007.

However the EU, under EU directive 2005/33/EC, has begun unilaterally to enforce the requirement for <1.5% sulphur fuel to be used in all member states waters for passenger vessels on regular services to or from EU ports from 11 August 2006. And this legislation will apply to all vessels in EU waters falling within an IMO designated SOx emission control area from the 11 August 2007.


Staff Author