IBIA Warns on Tighter EU Sulfur Timetable

Thursday, August 14, 2003
The International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) says revisions to the proposed EU directive on sulfur content of marine fuels published on August 8 by the European Commission do not go far enough to introduce abatement and trading as means to reduce sulfur emissions. And IBIA warns that new provisions bringing entry into force of the directive only six months after the date of publication are likely to be unworkable. "We welcome the pragmatic approach of the Commission to the many amendments to the draft directive made in its first parliamentary reading," says Ian Adams. "The Commission has effectively discarded attempts by the European Parliament to impose tighter sulfur limits in a second phase. These attempts to introduce a 0.5 per cent sulfur limit were simply unsustainable. But this new draft does not contain significant recognition of alternative abatement technologies and financial instruments. Shipowners must be rewarded for early investment in emissions abatement technology by the Commission signaling the acceptance of emissions trading and banking of early emissions reductions." Adams says some ship owners have expressed a willingness to reduce emissions but are unable to make investment decisions whilst there is a reluctance by the Commission to recognize the benefit of emissions credits and the concept of emissions offsetting. "Europe is missing the opportunity to achieve early and sustainable benefits to air quality by focusing only on sulfur limits in fuel," says Adams. "Also, the Commission has accepted a new provision inserted by the Parliament to bring the date of implementation forward from twelve months after publication to just six months. Given the diversity of our industry and the huge impact this will have on both suppliers and buyers of bunkers, we believe twelve months is a minimum for passing the directive into workable national legislation. The last directive on marine fuels was enacted patchily and with significant delays, causing problems of uneven application for shipping," says Adams. The proposed EU directive on sulfur content of marine fuels seeks to impose a limit of 1.5 percent sulfur on all marine fuels burned in the Baltic, North Sea and Channel, and also imposes a 0.2 per cent sulfur limit on all fuels consumed in EU ports.

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