EU Provisional Agreement Regarding Marine Fuels Sulphur Content

The European Union has come to an agreement regarding draft legislation on marine fuels which aims in ensuring that all vessels operating in EU waters will reduce harmful emissions by adhering to sulphur content limits in marine fuels.

According to the provisional agreement and in line with Annex VI of the MARPOL Convention, ships operating in EU waters will have to lower the amounts of sulphur content of marine fuels. More specifically “the limits for the sulphur content of marine fuels used in designated SO2 Emission Control Areas (SECAs) will be 1% until 31 December 2014 and 0.1%  as from 1 January 2015. The IMO standard of 0,5 % for sulphur limits outside SECAs will be mandatory in EU waters by 2020. This will also be valid for passenger ships operating outside SECAs to which the current regime of 1,5 % applies until that date. A general cap does not allow the use of marine fuels with a sulphur content of more than 3,5 % by mass within member states territory, with the exception of fuels used by vessels with alternative exhaust gas cleaning systems, the so-called scrubbers, operating in closed mode.”

At the same time the EU commission is planning to use to promote the development and testing of alternative technologies to reduce emissions from ships. According to the agreement and in order to bate negative effects on the competitiveness of the maritime industry, member states may provide support to operators in accordance with the applicable state aid rules if such aid measures are deemed to be compatible with the treaty.

Non-compliance with agreed regulation will result in penalties set by member states implementing the directive. The agreement states that fines should at least be equivalent of the benefits deriving from the infringements to the provisions of the directive.

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