North Sea SECA Enters into Force

Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Ships operating in the North Sea will have just one year to demonstrate compliance with stringent new exhaust emission standards following the entry into force of new air pollution regulations on 22 November 2006. The North Sea SOx Emission Control Area (SECA) will come into effect on 22 November 2007, one year after the entry into force of related amendments to Annex VI Regulations for the Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto (MARPOL 73/78). In a SECA, the sulphur content of fuel oil used onboard ships must not exceed 1.50% m/m. Alternatively, ships must fit an exhaust gas cleaning system. The Baltic Sea Area has already been designated as a SOx Emission Control Area under the regulations. The Baltic Sea SECA has been implemented and operational since 19 May 2006. Other amendments to Annex VI and the NOx Technical Code, which were adopted on 22 July 2005 and entered into force on 22 November 2006, relate to the conduct of surveys and issuing of certificates. The Regulations for the Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships are currently undergoing review by the Sub-Committee on Bulk Liquids and Gases (BLG). A BLG Intersessional Working Group on Air Pollution met last week in Oslo (13-17 November) to prepare recommendations, based on new technological developments, on how further to reduce air pollution from ships, focusing on the reduction of emissions of SOx, NOx, VOC and particulate matter.

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