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
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