Friday, July 29, 2011

Antarctic Fuel Oil Prohibition For Power Or As Bulk Cargo Comes Into Force

New Environmental Protection Controls from Next Week
Shipping News Feature

ANTARCTICA -US – CARIBBEAN – BALTIC - A new MARPOL regulation aimed at protecting the vulnerable Antarctic regions from pollution by shipping will come into force from 1st August. The legislation prohibits both the carriage in bulk as cargo and the carriage and use as fuel, of heavy grade crude oils* which effectively means that both freight and passenger vessels will need to switch to a different fuel type when transiting the Antarctic area, defined as “the sea area south of latitude 60°S”.

In addition the new North American Emission Control Area (ECA) we reported on earlier this month will come into force from the 1st August 2012. These latest restrictions are the latest in a line of amendments to the MARPOL Annex VI (Prevention of air pollution from ships) and associated regulations which are being introduced following the latest London meeting of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

This latest ECA will formally establish a North American Emission Control Area, in which emissions of sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter from ships will be subject to more stringent controls than the limits that apply globally. The ECA will take effect 12 months after the amendments enter into force on 1st August 2012 which means there will be three designated ECA’s, the other two being sulphur oxide ECA’s, namely the Baltic Sea area and the North Sea area.

At the London session the IMO adopted MARPOL amendments to designate certain waters adjacent to the coasts of Puerto Rico (United States) and the Virgin Islands (United States) as another ECA (United States Caribbean Sea ECA). The amendments adopted then are expected to enter into force on 1st January 2013, with the new ECA taking effect 12 months later.

*Regulation 43 prohibits both the carriage in bulk as cargo and the carriage and use as fuel, of crude oils having a density, at 15°C, higher than 900 kg/m3 and oils, other than crude oils, having a density, at 15°C, higher than 900 kg/m3 or a kinematic viscosity, at 50°C, higher than 180 mm2/s; or bitumen, tar and their emulsions.