North Sea SECA became effective August 11, 2007
Implementation of the North Sea SOx Emission Control Area (SECA)
Pollution from Ships (MARPOL 73/78) allows for the designation of SOx Emission Control Areas (SECA’s) where ships should not use fuel with a sulphur content in excess 1.5% m/m unless fitted with an Exhaust Gas Cleaning system or other technological method.
North Sea SECA is defined as the North Sea proper including seas therein with the boundary between:
- The North Sea southwards of the latitude 62° N and eastwards of longitude 4° W;
- The Skagerrak, the southern limit of which is determined east of the Skaw by latitude 57° 44.8’ N; and
- The English Channel and its approaches eastwards of longitude 5° W and northwards of latitude 48°30’ N
The IMO has identified an entry into force date of 21 November 2007 for the North Sea SECA. The EU Directive identifies 11 August 2007.
The date of 11 August 2007 should be treated as the entry into force date for the North Sea SECA.
EU member states will be required to apply from that date the requirements for vessels calling at their ports and to vessels transiting the waters of the North Sea SECA.
These requirements are as follows:
- The sulphur content of fuel oil used on board ships on a SOx emission control area shall not exceed 1.5% m/m;
- To use an approved exhaust gas cleaning system or other verifiable, enforceable technological method.
Further details on the requirements and detailed guidance for compliance are available in MIN 258 (M+F)
For Passenger ships on a regular service in the territorial sea, EEZ or Pollution Control Zone of any European Community Member State there will be a requirement to use low sulphur fuel (not in excess of 1.5%m/m) as if that ship was in a SECA. Further details are available in MIN 258 (M+F)
At the point of entry into a SECA, if ships do not have a system in place to reduce emissions as above, they must already be using fuel with a content of less than 1.5% sulphur. To achieve this, procedures should be in place so that the change-over from high- to low-sulphur fuel is completed before entry into the SECA. Details of the start and end time of the change-over, the ship’s position, the fuel oil tanks used and their contents should be recorded in a suitable log book.
Ships failing to comply with Regulation 14 of MARPOL Annex VI while operating inside the SECA will be detained. In case a ship that would operate in a SECA does not receive the required fuel or the proper documentation and/or the MARPOL Annex VI compliant fuel sample, the ship should issue a notification to its Flag Administration with a copy to the port authority from where the bunker fuel was purchased. One copy should be kept onboard for possible control by port state control officers at the port of call in the Baltic Sea. These details are given in the IMO Guidelines for port state control officers with regard to inspection of compliance with MARPOL Annex VI which can be seen attached.
Related source and links
- EU Directive 1999/32/EC of 26 April 1999
- Guidance on changing over to low sulphur fuel prior to entering a SECA
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