Hong Kong has been using the Air Pollution Control (Ocean Going Vessels) (Fuel at Berth) Regulation since 1 July 2015, requiring ocean-going vessels (OGVs) to use compliant fuel while berthing in Hong Kong to reduce their emissions.

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The Regulation extends the mandatory use of compliant fuel in OGVs while at berth to all vessels within the waters of Hong Kong, irrespective of whether they are sailing or berthing. Compliant fuel required by the Regulation includes sulphur content not exceeding 0.5%, LNG or any other fuel approved by the Director of Environmental Protection, which has the same requirements as set out in the current “Fuel at Berth” Regulation.

The type of vessels affected by the Regulation is mainly OGVs that are using HFO. Other non-OGVs normally use locally supplied marine light diesel with a sulphur content not exceeding 0.05% and are not affected by the Regulation.

According to the Regulation, OGVs that are using HFO will have to switch to compliant fuel before entering Hong Kong waters. The owner and master of an OGV must record the date and time of fuel switching and keep the relevant records for three years. If an OGV uses technology that can achieve the same or less emission of sulphur dioxide (SO2) when compared with using low-sulphur marine fuel, the OGV may be exempted from using compliant fuel.

Finally, except for specified vessel types as set out in the Regulation, operators of any vessel using non-compliant fuel within the waters of Hong Kong will be liable to a maximum fine of $200,000 and imprisonment for six months. Shipmasters and ship owners of OGVs who fail to record or keep the required particulars will also be liable to a maximum fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for three months.