Air Pollution: EU shipping strategy
EU Directive 2005/33/EC requiring use of 0.1% sulphur marine fuel at berth (Fuel Switching ) entered into force on 1 January 2010
In November 2002 the European Commission published a strategy to reduce air pollution from sea-going ships and a proposal for reducing the sulphur content in marine fuel oils.
The strategy contains a broad series of objectives, proposed actions and recommendations for bringing about such reductions over the next ten years. As part of the strategy the Commission published a proposal for reducing the sulphur content of marine fuels.
The proposed directive (COM (2002) 595 final) was first considered by the European Parliament in June 2003, after which the Council of Ministers reached their common position in June 2004. At the time of the second reading in the Parliament – in April 2005 – a compromise agreement was reached between the Parliament and the Council.
While the amendments proposed by the Parliament would have reduced sulphur emissions by around 80 per cent (as compared to emission levels in 2000), the compromise is more in line with the Commission’s original proposal, which is expected to deliver emission reductions of only around 10 per cent.
Directive 1999/32/EC extends the legislation on the reduction of sulphur dioxide emissions to cover certain liquid fuels derived from petroleum and used by seagoing ships.
Directive 2005/33/EC, like the communication on reducing atmospheric emissions from seagoing ships, forms part of a European Union strategy to reduce air pollution from ships. At the moment, ships are one of the leading sources of sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions in the Union. Research has shown that, by 2010, SO2 emissions from ships could be equivalent to over 75% of the emissions from all land-based sources.
The directive (2005/33/EC) entered into force on 11 August 2005. Its first provisions, including the Baltic Sea and passenger vessel 1.5 per cent fuel sulphur limit, applies from 11 August 2006. The same fuel sulphur limit applies also for the North Sea, including the English Channel, as from 11 August 2007. (See ECM Europe News posted on 11 Ago 2007).
The Directive extends the scope of Directive 1999/32/EC to include all liquid fuels derived from petroleum and used by ships operating in Member States’ territorial waters. It provides, in particular, for:
- limiting to 1.5% by mass, from 11 August 2006, the sulphur content of marine fuels used by vessels in the Baltic Sea, and from 11 August 2007 for vessels in the North Sea and the English Channel, in order to reduce acidification and improve air quality;
- limiting to 1.5% by mass, from 11 August 2006, the sulphur content of marine fuels used by passenger vessels on regular services to or from any port in the Union in order to improve air quality and create sufficient demand to ensure an EU-wide supply of low-sulphur fuel;
- limiting to 0.1% by mass, from 1 January 2010, the sulphur content of marine fuels used by ships on inland waterways and at berth in order to improve air quality around ports and inland waterways;
- by way of derogation to the abovementioned limits for fuel oil, allowing ships to use an approved emission abatement technology, provided that these ships continuously achieve emission reductions which are at least equivalent and that they thoroughly document that any waste streams discharged into enclosed ports and estuaries have no impact on ecosystems;
- limiting to 1.5% by mass the sulphur content of marine diesel oils sold in the European Union;
- limiting to 0.1% by mass the sulphur content of marine gas oils sold in the European Union;
- requiring refuelling operations to be recorded in the logbook before ships can be granted access to ports in the Community;
- ensuring that the sulphur content of fuels sold on the territory of the Member States is documented by the supplier, accompanied by a sample.
The Directive also provides for verification of the sulphur content of marine fuels by sampling and analysis. Every year, Member States must send the Commission a report on the sulphur content of the fuels covered by this proposal and used on their territory.
By 31 December 2010, the Commission must send Parliament and the Council a report on implementation of the Directive, together with any proposals for amending it.
The directive 2005/33/EC (amending Directive 1999/32/EC) introduced parallel requirements in the EU to those in MARPOL Annex VI in respect of the sulphur content of marine fuels. In addition, it also introduced a 0.1% maximum sulphur requirement for fuels used by ships at berth in EU ports from 1st January 2010.
- The directive, applies also to ships are anchored.
- The fuel switch should be done as soon as possible after arrival and as late as possible before departure
- This regulations applies to all engines and to all boilers, including auxiliary boilers.
- The regulation will as well, most likely make it necessary to use distillate fuel while at berth.
On 21st December, the EU Commission adopted a Recommendation on the safe implementation of the use of low sulphur fuel by ships at berth, which invites EU Member States, while enforcing the clause in the Sulphur Directive for use of 0.1% sulphur content fuel by ships at berth, to consider the existence of detailed evidence of the steps taken by ships to ensure safe compliance with Article 4b of Directive 1999/32/EC as amended by Directive 2005/33/EC with effect from 1 January 2010.
In this regards the European Commission accepted a “Commission Recommendation” to grant an eight-month transitional period to ships which have not made the necessary technical modifications to facilitate consumption of such fuels yet.
The Commission notes that many vessels have not undergone the necessary technical modification in order to meet the requirements of the Directive. Ships which fail to comply with the requirements to use fuels with a maximum sulphur content of 01.% while at berth should be asked to provide evidence of the steps they are taking to achieve compliance. Consideration can be given to the existence of an approved retrofit plan when assessing the degree of penalties to be applied to non-complying ships. The Commission states that, for these ships that have not undergone technical modifications, completion of the whole process should not take more then eight months.
The transitional period is subject to the following conditions:
1. As part of the Member States enforcement actions against ships which fail to comply with the requirement to use fuels with a maximum permitted sulphur content of 0.1 % while at berth, Member States should request those ships to provide detailed evidence of the steps they are taking to achieve compliance.
This should include
(a) a contract with a manufacturer and
(b) an approved retrofit plan which should be approved by the ship’s classification society or, for ships flying the flag of a Member State, by the organisation having recognition in accordance with Regulation (EC) 391/2009 of the European Parliament and the Council.
The retrofit plan should clearly state the date of completion of the adaptation and certification process.
2. Member States may consider the existence of an approved retrofit plan when assessing the degree of penalties to be applied to non-complying ships.
3. Member States should take appropriate measures to raise awareness among owners, operators and seafarers of the safety risk related to fuel changeover in the absence of any necessary technical adaptation to a ship’s fuel system and the necessity for training to be provided.
Ship operators should further note that while Member States will take the Commission Recommendation into consideration, it remains a ‘recommendation’ from a legal point of view and that individual Member States may decide not to follow it.
Finally, the required documentation in order to benefit from the transitional period as explained has to be provided by the ship owners to PSC inspectors.
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