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Hong Kong mulls stricter maritime air emissions regulation

0.5% sulphur marine fuel regulation may be extended to all vessels from 1 January 2019 onwards.




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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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Port & Regulatory

DNV on IMO MEPC 81: Negotiations on new GHG reduction requirements continue

MEPC 81 continued its negotiation of GHG fuel intensity requirements, potentially in combination with a GHG pricing mechanism; approved proposals to designate Canadian Arctic and Norwegian Sea as ECAs for NOx, SOx and PM.





shraga kopstein on Unsplash

Classification society DNV on Saturday (23 March) published a technical regulatory news titled ‘IMO MEPC 81: Negotiations On New Ghg Reduction Requirements Continue’. The following are excerpts from the update related to bunker fuel:

The 81st session of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 81) continued its negotiation of GHG fuel intensity requirements, potentially in combination with a GHG pricing mechanism. 

Other important decisions include the reporting of transport work and more granular fuel consumption data in the data collection system, and approval of proposals to designate the Canadian Arctic and the Norwegian Sea as NOx, SOx and PM Emission Control Areas.

Energy efficiency

Use of ShaPoLi/EPL systems in the EEXI framework

To ensure a consistent and uniform approach to the immediate availability of power, including the power reserve, when using overridable shaft/engine power limitation (ShaPoLi/EPL), MEPC 81 revised the ShaPoLi/EPL guidelines. The revisions are based on provisions set out in IACS Recommendation 172 for systems which do not physically limit shaft or engine power and where the override of shaft power limitation can be indicated by giving an alarm. In this context, manual shaft power limitation systems can inhibit the initiation of the exceedance alarm for up to 5 minutes.

Review of the Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII)

MEPC 81 did not agree on a resolution stating that the CII rating system is currently within an experience building phase and that key elements of the system should be considered interim. Although recognizing that there are shortcomings in the CII framework, it was agreed that the CII is not a provisional measure and that such a resolution would undermine the CII. The concerns raised should be considered as part of the upcoming CII review.

Revision of the Data Collection System (DCS)

MEPC 81 adopted revised guidelines on SEEMP related to reporting fuel oil consumption per consumer type and transport work. This supports the adopted amendments to MARPOL Annex VI mandating the reporting of additional data elements through the DCS.

Carriage of biofuel blends

A proposal to allow for carriage of blends of up to 30% biofuel on bunker barges certified according to MARPOL Annex I was forwarded to the ESPH (Evaluation of Safety and Pollution Hazards of Chemicals) Working Group for further consideration.

Unified Interpretations

MEPC 81 agreed on Unified Interpretations to MARPOL Annex VI regarding:

  • the definition of heavy load carriers and
  • the application of the required EEDI to LNG carriers, cruise passenger ships, ro-ro passenger ships, ro-ro cargo ships (vehicle carrier) and ro-ro cargo ships, delivered on or after 1 September 2019.

Reduction of GHG emissions

Mid and long-term measures to reduce GHG emissions

To ensure shipping achieves the ambitions of the 2023 IMO GHG Strategy, the MEPC 80 decided to implement a basket of measures consisting of two parts:

  • A technical element,which will be a goal-based marine fuel standard regulating the phased reduction of marine fuel GHG intensity
  • An economic element,which will be GHG emissions pricing mechanism, linked directly to the GHG intensity mechanism or as a stand-alone mechanism

The measures are scheduled to be adopted in 2025 and enter into force around mid-2027.

At MEPC 81, several regulatory proposals were on the table. While there was no agreement on the package of measures, there was convergence between member states, along with agreement on an overarching structure for the needed regulatory amendments, the “IMO net-zero framework”, in MARPOL Annex VI. This is intended to form the basis for refined proposals, including possible legal language, to be discussed at MEPC 82 in October 2024.

MEPC 81 also agreed to organise the expert workshop on the further development of the basket of mid-term measures, intended to facilitate the understanding of the preliminary findings of the comprehensive impact assessment, which are expected to be available by mid-summer.

Life cycle GHG/carbon intensity for marine fuels

MEPC 81 adopted amendments to the “Guidelines on Life Cycle GHG Intensity of Marine Fuels” (LCA Guidelines), which set out methods for calculating well-to-wake and tank-to-wake GHG emissions for all fuels and other energy carriers (e.g. electricity) used on board a ship. The amendments included the quantification of parameters related to biofuel production, the evaluation of GHG intensity of electricity and the actual tank-to-wake methodologies for actual/onboard emission factors, amongst others.

The LCA Guidelines do not include any provisions for application nor requirements; they are intended to support the GHG Fuel Intensity regulation under development. 

A GESAMP Working Group was established to consider new default fuel pathway values, certification of actual well-to-tank and tank-to-well emission factors, and more general methodological LCA issues. A Correspondence Group was established to address other social and economic sustainability topics and aspects of marine fuels, for possible later inclusion in the LCA Guidelines.

MEPC 81 considered how to develop a framework for the measurement and verification of tank-to-wake emissions of methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) in the context of the LCA Guidelines. A separate Correspondence Group was established to further progress the matter.

On-board carbon capture

MEPC 81 discussed the issue of on-board carbon capture and established a Correspondence Group to further discuss the matter and develop a working plan on the development of a regulatory framework for the use of on-board carbon capture systems.

Identification and protection of Emission Control Areas (ECAs)

MEPC 81 approved proposals to designate the Canadian Arctic and the Norwegian Sea as ECAs for nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur oxides (SOx) and particulate matter (PM).

For the Canadian Arctic, assuming adoption at MEPC 82, the requirements take effect as follows:

  • The 0.10% fuel sulphur content requirement takes effect from1 March 2027.
  • TierIII NOx requirements will apply to ships constructed on or after 1 January 2025, although the requirements will enter into force at the earliest on 1 March 2026.

For the Norwegian Sea, also assuming adoption at MEPC 82, the requirements take effect as follows:

  • The 0.10% fuel sulphur content requirement takes effect from 1 March 2027.
  • TierIIINOx requirements will apply to ships contracted on or after 1 March 2026; or, in the absence of a contract, keel-laid on or after 1 September 2026; or delivered on or after 1 March 2030.


DNV recommends that our customers take into account the work on new GHG reduction ambitions when considering energy efficiency, alternative fuels and other GHG reduction options for their existing fleet and newbuilds, and note the requirements with expected entry into force around mid-2027.

Companies operating in the Canadian Arctic and Norwegian Sea are advised to note the establishment of ECAs and the attendant effective dates of the requirements.

We also recommend signing up for our dedicated webinar, discussing the outcome of MEPC 81, taking place on 3 April 2024: emissions-regulations-and-more/ 

Note: The full TECHNICAL REGULATORY NEWS No. 07/2024 – STATUTORY can be downloaded here.


Photo credit: shraga kopstein on Unsplash
Published: 25 March 2024

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Argus Media: Norway, Canada propose ECAs for Arctic waters

Both countries submitted proposals to designate their Arctic Ocean waters as emissions control areas during MPEC 81; both areas are not covered by existing North Sea and North America ECAs.





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Delegates from Canada and Norway submitted proposals to designate their Arctic Ocean waters as emissions control areas (ECAs) during the International Maritime Organisation's (IMO) 81st Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) meeting.

19 March 2024

Canada's proposal would regulate its Arctic waters as an ECA for nitrogen oxide (NOX), sulphur oxide (SOX), and particular matter (PM), while Norway proposes an ECA for NOX and SOX emissions. The two areas are not covered by the existing North Sea and North America ECAs.

The proposals were met positively by most other groups at the meeting, including delegates from the Cook Islands, Finland, the US, Mexico, Panama, and Ireland — all of whom supported the proposals going into consideration by the technical committee.

But the proposals faced resistance from the Russian Federation, whose delegate said the proposals do not meet the "specified requirements for ECA designation" under MARPOL regulations — pointing to insignificant navigation networks in those areas, lack of a major port, and a sparse population in the two areas under the proposal. The delegate from Russia added that the control measures against NOX and SOX emissions in those areas can be introduced on a national legislative level, rather than being proposed under MARPOL regulations.

The session concluded with MEPC agreeing to establish a technical group on the designation of ECAs to evaluate the two proposals.

By Hussein Al-Khalisy

Related: IMO MPEC 81st session to be held between 18 to 22 March


Photo credit and source: Argus Media
Published: 19 March 2024

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NorthStandard: Port of Livorno introduces new rules on ULSFO bunker fuel

From 19 February 2024, port of Livorno introduced new requirements on the use of ultra-low sulphur fuels for calling vessels, which comes ahead of Mediterranean Sea becoming an ECA for SOx in 2025.





Port of Livorno

Global marine insurer NorthStandard on Friday (8 March) said the port of Livorno in Italy introduced new requirements on the use of ultra-low sulphur fuels for calling vessels from 19 February 2024.

The insurer said law firm and Club Correspondent in Italy Vincenzini-Batini advised that the new requirements are specified in a harbourmaster’s ordinance which was issued at the request of the municipality.

The new local rules go above and beyond the current EU ‘at-berth’ requirements, and now require calling vessels to change their auxiliary engines (diesel driven generators) to run on 0.10% max sulphur fuel before entering the roadstead, which is about three miles from the port entrance. 

At departure, the auxiliary engines must remain on 0.10% max sulphur fuel until completely out of the roadstead.

This ordinance comes ahead of the introduction of the IMO’s Mediterranean Sulphur Emission Control Area in May 2025, when the sulphur limit in marine fuels for use in all machinery (main engines, auxiliary engines and boilers) will fall from the current 0.50% to 0.10%.

Related: DNV: Mediterranean SOx ECA, and heavy fuel oil ban in the Arctic


Photo credit: MarineTraffic / Hartmut Knape
Published: 12 March 2024

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