California: MSC Pays $630K for Air Quality Violations
Swiss container shipping company Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) paid $630,625 in penalties to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for violating the Ocean-Going Vessel At-Berth Regulation.
According to CARB, the violations were discovered during a routine audit of the company’s 2014 visits to the Port of Oakland and the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
The investigation by CARB revealed more than 2500 violations for both the Oakland and LA/LB fleets for failing to reduce auxiliary engine power generation by at least 50 percent and for exceeding limits for auxiliary engine run time as required by the At-Berth regulation, it said.
“Ocean-going vessels are significant contributors to air pollution,” said CARB Enforcement Division Chief Todd Sax. "Even in port, their auxiliary engines generate toxic diesel particulate pollution that impacts not only port-adjacent communities, but also entire inland regions. This regulation helps to protect all Californians and is necessary to ensure we meet our clean air goals.”
Adopted in 2007, the At-Berth Regulation was designed to reduce emissions from diesel auxiliary engines on container ships, passenger ships and refrigerated-cargo ships while berthing at a California port.
Vessel operators can either turn off auxiliary engines and connect to grid-based shore power, or use alternative technologies to achieve equivalent emission reductions while in port. The regulation ultimately requires a fleet operator to reduce at-berth oxides of nitrogen (NOX) and particulate matter (PM) emissions from its vessels’ auxiliary engines in port by at least 80 percent by 2020.
Based in Geneva, Switzerland, MSC is one of the largest worldwide container shipping companies. MSC cooperated with the investigation and subsequently converted its California fleets to include 100 percent shore power-equipped vessels, and has had no further violations of the At-Berth regulation. The fine was paid to the California Air Pollution Control Fund to support air pollution research, and the company agreed to comply with all requirements of the regulation.