New rules to reduce emissions from ships enter into force
to control harmful emissions from ships' exhausts enter into force on 19 May
the Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships are contained in Annex VI of the
MARPOL Convention1 and were adopted in the 1997 Protocol to that Convention.
The Annex VI regulations
set limits on sulphur oxide (SOx) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from ship
exhausts and prohibit deliberate emissions of ozone-depleting substances.
The Annex includes a global cap of 4.5 percent by mass (% m/m) on the sulphur
content of fuel oil and calls on IMO to monitor the worldwide average sulphur
content of fuel once the Protocol comes into force.
Annex VI contains provisions allowing for special "SOx Emission
Control Areas" (SECAs) to be established with more stringent controls on
sulphur emissions. In these areas, the sulphur content of fuel oil used onboard
ships must not exceed 1.5% m/m.
ships must fit an exhaust gas cleaning system or use other methods to limit
SOx emissions. The regulation requires such alternative methods to be approved
by the Administration (flag State). Draft Guidelines on on-board exhaust
gas-SOx cleaning systems have been developed and are expected to be approved
by IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) when it meets for its
53rd session in July 2005.
Sea Area is designated as a SECA in the Protocol. However, the regulation allows
for a 12-month period from the date of entry into force before the limits in
a SECA can be enforced.
2000, the MEPC approved a proposed amendment to Annex VI to also include the
North Sea as a SECA. The aim is to adopt the amendment once MARPOL Annex VI
enters into force. It is anticipated that the MEPC will adopt amendments to
Annex VI, including the proposed North Sea SECA, at its 53rd session to be held
from 18-22 July 2005. The entry into force date is anticipated to be November
2006, with a 12 month period after that date before full implementation of the
North Sea SECA.
IMO has been monitoring the worldwide average sulphur content of residual fuel
supplied for use on board ships since 1999 following the adoption of resolution
MEPC.82(43) Guidelines for monitoring the world wide average sulphur content
of residual fuel supplied for use on board ships . The monitoring is based
on bunker reports around the world representing more than 60 per cent of all
bunkers delivered to ships. The worldwide average for 2004 has been calculated
to be 2.67% m/m sulphur content. This figure has been almost constant since
1999 (the variation is less than +/- 0.02 % m/m).
Annex VI prohibits deliberate emissions of ozone-depleting substances, which
include halons and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). New installations, such as refrigeration
and fire-fighting systems, containing ozone-depleting substances, are prohibited
on all ships, but new installations containing hydro-chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs)
are permitted until 1 January 2020.
Annex VI also sets limits on emissions of nitrogen oxides from diesel engines.
A mandatory NOx Technical Code establishes procedures for the testing, survey
and certification of marine diesel engines which will enable engine manufacturers,
shipowners and Administrations to ensure that all applicable marine diesel engines
comply with the relevant limiting emission values of NOx> as specified in regulation
13 of Annex VI.
The Annex also prohibits the incineration aboard ship of certain products, such
as contaminated packaging materials and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which
have previously been used in a number of industrial materials.
In November 2003, IMO adopted resolution A.963(23) IMO Policies and practices
related to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships. The MEPC
is developing draft Guidelines on the CO2 Indexing Scheme
and has recognized that IMO guidelines on greenhouse gas emissions have to address
all six greenhouse gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol: carbon dioxide (CO2);
methane (CH4); nitrous oxide (N2O); hydrofluorocarbons
(HFCs); perfluorocarbons (PFCs); and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).
Briefing 23, 18 May 2005
1 International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution
from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto (MARPOL
IMO - the International Maritime Organization - is the United Nations specialized
agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention
of marine pollution by ships.
Web site: www.imo.org
information please contact:
Lee Adamson, Head, Public Information Services on 020 7587 3153 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Natasha Brown, External Relations Officer on 020 7587 3274 (email@example.com).