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.