The establishment of air emissions regulations in the form of Emission Control Areas (ECA) and the upcoming IMO 2020 sulphur cap are leading the search for economically, commercially, and environmentally acceptable marine fuels. US Coast Guard examiners are seeing a new trend on ships carrying liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and ethane. Namely, these vessels are using their cargoes as fuel during ocean transits.
To address negative effects on human health and ecosystems of maritime activities, more than 80 participants from 19 Mediterranean coastal States and European Union, as well as the IMO and the United Nations Environment Programme, other governmental and non-governmental organizations, the industry and associations, met in Malta last week to discuss several technical issues and strategic issues.
On the 14th May 2019, the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), after a request made by the European Commission, organised a meeting to discuss the possibility of designating the Mediterranean Sea as an Emissions Control Area (ECA).
Norway posed a fine of 700,000 NOK (=USD 80,346) to the cruise ship ‘MS Magellan’, owned by the Greek shipping company Global Cruise Lines Ltd, for violating the legislation on fuel sulphur limits in the world heritage fjords.
At the G7 meeting of Environmental Ministers in Metz, France, on May 6, the Italian Minister Costa met with his French counterpart, De Rugy. Among the topics discussed, it was decided to conduct a joint initiative to get the declaration of a combined SECA and NECA for the entire Mediterranean Sea. Spain has also spoke out in favour for an ECA as well.
The 2020 sulphur cap, a MARPOL Annex VI requirement, enters into force on 1 January 2020, less than nine months away. In this regard, Sammy Smallbone, Lawyer at Gard AS provided recommendations for managing the transition where the strategy is to use conventional compliant fuel.
A European Commission-funded impact assessment into a potential Mediterranean emissions control area (ECA) concluded that designating such an ECA would result in significant socio-economic benefits. The assessment is the third study to be published since the middle of December.
Spain is in favor of the development of an Emission Control Area (ECA) in the Mediterranean Sea, said Pedro Saura, the country’s State Secretary for Infrastructure. The creation of an ECA would implement stricter requirements for sulphur and NOx emissions from ships that sail in these waters.
According to Drewry, China’s developing increasing demand for chemical shipping is due to strengthen coastal freight rates. The demand is being boosted by the fast growth of the Chinese base chemical production capacity. Mainly, about 55% of the new production capacity is placed in East China, 23% in North China, whereas another 22% in South China.
The IMO are still in the process of developing a fuel oil non-availability report (FONAR) system in order to assist ships in their Regulation 18 declarations to state parties concerning the steps to be taken when a vessel is found not to be compliant. A final template for this is expected to be submitted to and approved by the IMO in May 2019.
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