The International Bunker Industry Association says the timing of the
introduction of the EU's sulphur emissions control areas (SECAs) for
shipping has created confusion in the industry because it is not in line
with the timing of the SECAs introduced under Marpol Annex VI.
Ian Adams, secretary general of IBIA, says, "Such differing deadlines only
help to spread confusion. Shipowners and bunker suppliers will have to be
extra careful to observe two differing sets of legislation which regulate
sulphur content in marine fuel oil. Instead of helping to simplify the
situation, the EU legislation has made an already full compliance calendar
even more crowded."
The EU's marine fuel sulphur directive entered into force on August 11th,
2005. Its provisions include two SECAs in which the sulphur content of fuel
oil burned on board ships must not exceed 1.5%. However, the timing of the
introduction of these SECAs differs from the timing of similar projected
SECAs which fall under IMO's Marpol Annex VI.
- From August 11th, 2006, the EU's directive enforces a 1.5%
sulphur limit in the Baltic Sea area and on passenger vessels on regular
service between EU ports.
- From August 11th, 2007, the North Sea and English Channel
have also been designated as a SECA with the same 1.5% sulphur limit to
- In addition a 0.1% sulphur limit on fuel used by inland
vessels and by seagoing ships at berth in EU ports will come into effect on
January 1st, 2010.
"Protecting the environment is a virtuous cause and cleaner air benefits
everybody. IBIA welcomes responsible legislation which promotes this. But I
would encourage regional legislators to use the vehicle of IMO to develop
rules which affect international shipping. This will avoid a future
patchwork of local, and possibly conflicting, requirements which would
undoubtedly affect regional competitiveness, world trade and effective compliance.
"On the other hand it is imperative that IMO note the effective consultation
processes and speed with which the EU has introduced these regional rules,
and overhaul its regulation development machinery," says Don Gregory,
chairman of IBIA.