EU Urged to Address IMO Sulphur Requirements

Posted by Eric Haun
Wednesday, November 27, 2013

In conjunction with the first meeting of the newly established European Sustainable Shipping Forum (ESSF), which is scheduled to take place today, the shipping industry in a joint statement urges the European Commission to provide support in meeting the IMO requirement for 0.1% sulphur content in marine fuel by 2015.

The shipping industry encourages the European Commission to primarily address financial support for ship conversions and to consider the timely application of any additional transitional measures to ensure an appropriate enforcement of the sulphur Directive (Directive 2012/33/EU).

What is more, the shipping industry is of the opinion that, if factual analysis within the ESSF corroborates that the 0.1% limit will have detrimental effects on the sustainability of maritime transport, then the Commission and Member States should commit to taking corrective action.

Finally, the ESSF should also provide a platform to discuss possible interim measures and to take due account of regional specificities wherever necessary.

The global trade association Interferry, one of the statement cosponsors, said it fully supports the ESSF initiative but contends it is crucial that medium/long-term measures – ‘which might help when any new ships are ordered’ – do not overshadow the imminent challenges for ferries to survive the short-term transition.

“Ferries are the mainstay of intra-European maritime services. As such they are in pole position to reduce the load on ever-more congested roads that rely on recurring public investment,” said Johan Roos, Interferry’s Brussels-based executive director for EU and IMO affairs. “It follows that we are right behind the EU’s goal of more sustainable transport. However, it is very clear that the opposite will happen, a little over a year from now. The EU authorities need to understand without delay that ferry services are under real threat from the 2015 timescale –and that safeguarding continued ferry services today is a much better proposition than trying to take corrective actions when the services are gone.”

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