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Maritime News

Sulphur emissions The outstanding challenges

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has been working to reduce the harmful impacts of shipping on the environment.

It adopted Annex VI (Regulations for the Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships) to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL Convention) in 1997. Regulation 14 therein covers emissions of sulphur oxides (SOx) and particulate matter from ships.

The IMO has been setting progressively stricter limits on the sulphur content of fuel oils used by ships. Last year, it adopted a 2008 resolution that introduces a reduced global sulphur cap on marine fuels. The current global limit of 3.5% mass/mass (m/m) shall decrease to 0.5% m/m from 1 January 2020. The 0.1% m/m limit in Emission Control Areas (ECAS) such as the Baltic Sea area, the North Sea area, the North American area, introduced on 1 January 2015, remains unaffected.

While the new regulation has been welcomed by all, there are challenges in ensuring its compliance and enforcement. These challenges will be discussed below.

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