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Hong Kong mulls stricter maritime air emissions regulation

12 Jul 2018

A new regulation for reducing maritime air pollution is being considered by the Legislative Council at Hong Kong; if approved, it will take effect on 1 January 2019, according to the Environment Protection Department (EPD).

The new regulation seeks to extend the mandatory use of 0.5% sulphur limit fuel to all vessels (including Ocean Going Vessels and non-Ocean Going Vessels) within the waters of Hong Kong, irrespective of whether they are sailing or berthing.

Since July 2015, the Hong Kong government has mandated the use of 0.5% sulphur limit marine fuel for Ocean Going Vessels (OGVs) while at berth.

The proposed regulation includes the consumption of low-sulphur marine fuel (sulphur content not exceeding 0.5%), liquefied natural gas 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 for OGVs.

The type of vessels affected by the proposed regulation are mainly OGVs that are using heavy fuel oil (with an average sulphur content of 2.6%), says the EPD.

Other non-OGVs (including river trade and local vessels) normally use locally supplied marine light diesel with a sulphur content not exceeding 0.05% and therefore are not affected by the proposed regulation.

“When the Regulation comes into effect, OGVs that are using heavy fuel oil are required to switch to compliant fuel before entering Hong Kong waters,” said a note from EPD.

“The owner and master of an OGV are required to 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.”

When the regulation comes into effect, except for specified vessel types as set out in the regulation, the master and owner concerned 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.

Published: 13 July, 2018

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