While many Asian ports restrict ships’ sulfur emissions, the level is far higher than limits in the U.S. and Europe, says a report in the WSJ.
Many popular destinations, including Singapore, Australia and several of the Pacific Islands, apply international maritime guidelines restricting ships’ emissions of sulfur—a pollutant associated with acid rain—to 3.5% of fuel volume. But that is 35 times the U.S. and European limit.
Activists have been urging regulators to mandate stricter standards, but they say that in the meantime multinational cruise companies such as Carnival Corp. and Crystal Cruises should act.
The fuel used in international shipping contains on average 2,700 times more sulphur than the fuel used for cars, resulting in higher sulphur oxide (SOx) emissions.
Concerned about the health risks, the world is slowly moving to reduce the level of sulfur in marine fuel.
Under an international shipping convention signed by more than 150 countries and adopted by the International Maritime Organization, marine-sulfur levels will be required to drop to 0.5% from the current 3.5% in 2020, though some regions, such as Europe and the U.S., are moving ahead faster.
Recently, the New South Wales Liberal party has pledged to enforce the use of low-sulphur fuel in cruise ships, less than 24 hours after Sydney radio commentator Alan Jones said he planned to make cruise ship pollution an election issue.
The NSW environment minister, Rob Stokes, announced on Wednesday that the Baird government would require all cruise ships operating in the state’s ports to use fuel that contains no more than 0.1% sulphur from 1 July, 2016, bringing it in line with Europea
n and US regulations. Australia allows
cruise ships to use fuel containing up to 3.5% sulphur.
Some global shipping companies have moved to curb emissions without government regulation.