California air regulators propose rules for ocean vessel fuel
The California Air Resources Board has released a set of proposed rules for regulating the fuel used by oceangoing vessels in state waters, measures that the maritime advocate Pacific Merchant Shipping Association is likely to fight.
PMSA is soliciting feedback from its members in order to write a response.
In short, the regulations would place the following requirements on ships entering California's ports:
* The use of 0.5 percent sulfur content marine diesel oil by Jan. 1, 2007, or marine gas oil for auxiliary diesel engines and diesel-electric engines operating on oceangoing vessels within 24 nautical miles of California.
* The use of marine gas oil with a sulfur content of no more than 0.1 percent beginning Jan. 1, 2010.
* Record keeping requirements on vessel operators, including the date, time and position of the vessel for each entry into California waters and at the initiation and completion of fuel switching, as well as type, amount and sulfur content of fuel used, all to be provided to CARB within 24 hours if requested.
* Ships using alternative sources of power, or other vessel emission reduction measures may be exempt.
The rules would apply to U.S.- and foreign-flagged oceangoing vessels calling in California ports.
Vessel operators could be assessed noncompliance fees that range from $13,000 to $162,500, depending on the type of vessel and number of port visits. Money collected will either be given to public ports for mitigation programs or deposited in the California Air Pollution Control Fund.
PMSA estimates the cost to comply with the rules, assuming an average consumption of seven tons per day in auxiliary engines, would be between $1,750 and $2,730 per day while in California waters and ports.
The rules are available at http://www.arb.ca.gov/regact/marine2005/marine2005.htm .