RMI Marine Safety Advisory No 7-14
The Republic of the Marshall Islands has issued Marine Safety Advisory No 7-14 with guidance from the Environmental ProtectionAgency (EPA). This guidance addresses how the US government will implement fuel oil availability provisionsfor ship owners. For the operators unable to obtain fuel oil that meets the fuel oil sulfur standardsapplicable to ships operating in waters off of the coast of North America, Transport Canada hasissued Ship Safety Bulletin 04/2013 which provides information on reporting whencompliant fuel is unavailable.
Interim Guidance on the Non-Availability of Compliant Fuel Oil for the North American Emission Control Area
Annex VI to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL)has been in effect in the United States since January 8, 2009. MARPOL Annex VI is implementedin the United States through the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS). Under the authorityof APPS, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (the EPA), in consultation with the UnitedStates Coast Guard, has promulgated regulations which incorporate by reference the full text ofMARPOL Annex VI. See 40 C.F.R. 1043.100(a)(1).
Compliance with the MARPOL Annex VI air emission standards, including the fuel oil sulfur standards, will significantly reduce emissions from foreign and domestic vessels that affect US air quality and impact human health. The Annex VI standards, in conjuction with the US Clean Air Act standards applicable to US ships, are expected to reduce the annual emissions of NOx , SOx and particulate matter(PM) by 1,2 million , 1,3 million and 143,000 tons, respectively, by 2030. Annually, these reductions are estimated to prevent between 12,000 and 30,000 PM related premature deaths, between 210 and 920 ozone related premature deaths, 1,400,000 work days lost and 9,600,000 minor restricted- activity days.
Which vessels are required to comply with the Annex VI ECA fuel oil sulfur standardwhile operating in the North American ECA?
With limited exceptions, including for certain “public vessels” (as defined in 40 C.F.R. 1043.20), all vessels that operate in the North American ECA are required to be in compliancewith the Annex VI ECA fuel oil sulfur standard. Note, most vessels under 400 gross tonnage arelikely already in compliance with the standard as the majority of these vessels operate usingsolely distillate fuel oil that meets the Annex VI ECA fuel oil sulfur limit.
How do I comply with the Annex VI ECA fuel oil sulfur standards while operating in theNorth American ECA?
You are required to either use Annex VI ECA compliant fuel oil when operating within thedesignated North American ECA, or to install and use an equivalent method as approved andallowed under MARPOL Annex VI Regulation 4, and 40 C.F.R. 1043.55 (e.g., exhaust gascleaning device).
What should my Fuel Oil Non-Availability Report contain?
MARPOL Annex VI Regulation 18.2, as incorporated by reference in 40 C.F.R. 1043.100,provides that a vessel not in compliance with the fuel oil sulfur standards will
(1) present arecord of the actions taken to attempt to achieve compliance; and
(2) provide evidence that itattempted to purchase compliant fuel oil in accordance with its voyage plan and, if it was notmade available where planned, that attempts were made to locate alternative sources for suchfuel oil and that despite best efforts to obtain compliant fuel oil, no such fuel oil was madeavailable for purchase.
Further details may be found at RMI Marine Safet Advisory No 7-14