IMO accepts emission control area
The International Maritime Organization on Friday accepted a proposal to designate waters off the U.S. and Canadian coasts as an Emission Control Area.
The ECA means ships operating within 200 nautical miles of the coasts will have to comply with new standards on Aug. 1, setting a 1 percent sulfur oxide emission limit, which will reduce to 0.1 percent on Jan. 1, 2015. To achieve these reductions, ships must use low-sulfur fuel with no more than 1,000 parts per million of sulfur beginning in 2015.
There is also an ECA in the North Sea.
Elsewhere, under MARPOL Annex VI, sulphur oxide emissions are being reduced from its current 4.5 percent to 3.5 percent by Jan. 1, 2012, then progressively to 0.5 percent in 2020, subject to a feasibility review.
Also, engines installed on ships constructed on or after Jan. 1, 2016, which operate within an ECA will need to meet the highest nitrogen oxide “code tier III” emission standard.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency hailed the decision as “a move that will result in cleaner air for millions of Americans.”
“Cleaning up our shipping lanes will be a boon to communities across North America,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. 'The sulfur, particulate emissions and other harmful pollutants from large ships reach from our ports to communities hundreds of miles inland — bringing with them health, environmental and economic burdens.”
During a week-long meeting, the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee made limited progress in attempting to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from international shipping.
The group did prepare draft text on mandatory requirements for the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) for new vessels and on the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) for all ships in operation.