IBIA calls for Clarification

Friday, September 09, 2005
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 apply.

- 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.

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