Lloyd’s Register has issued an alert to the maritime industry detailing amendments to the European Commission’s sulphur regulations, which have been aligned to MARPOL Annex VI. EC Directive 2012/33/EU will come into force on 18 December 2012.

As the Lloyd’s note states, the key amendments are as follows:

•    EC regulations will be aligned with the revised Annex VI to MARPOL, both inside and outside EU SOx Emission Control Areas (SECAs)
•    The 0.50 per cent limit outside EU SECAs will apply in EC waters from 1 January 2020, regardless of the outcome of the IMO fuel availability, which is due by 2018.
•    Emission abatement methods are permitted for ships of all flags in EC waters as long as they continuously achieve reductions of SOx emissions, which are at least equivalent to using compliant marine fuels.

Vessels at berth in EC ports will be permitted a maximum fuel sulphur content of 0.1 per cent both inside and outside SECAs, whilst all other vessels will be permitted 1 per cent within SECAs, as of 18 June 2014, falling to 0.1 per cent from 1 January 2020. Outside SECAs this figure rises to 3.5 per cent and 0.5 per cent respectively.

The MARPOL Annex VI SOx and NOx emission limits are set for diesel engines based on the engine’s maximum operating speed (n, rpm).  Tier I and Tier II limits are global; Tier III standards are for SOx and NOx Emission Control Areas only. Existing Emission Control Areas are North America, the Baltic Sea, and the North Sea.  Potential future Emission Control Areas include the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, Japan, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand. These limits are currently for new construction only.

However, “In my opinion,” Wensell explained, “since the regulations are not targeted towards the existing fleet, existing superyachts should not be affected.”

However, the fact that the vast majority of superyachts are run on Marine Gas Oil means the imposition of more stringent SOx emission standards will not affect the fleet as much as other areas of MARPOL; specifically, as Lloyd’s Register Specialist for its Passenger Ship Support Centre, Carlo Russo explained, MARPOL Reg. 13, which addresses NOx emissions. This he said is going to be the area of consideration and concern for the superyacht industry.

This is a view that Cormetech’s George Wensell also takes. Cormetech – a catalytic reduction solutions designer - recently announced a joint development agreement with manufacturer, Tenneco to collaborate on designing ultra-large diameter selective catalytic reduction (SCR) catalysts for marine engine applications.
However, “In my opinion,” Wensell explained, “since the regulations are not targeted towards the existing fleet, existing superyachts should not be affected.”

In actuality existing superyachts will only be affected if they upgrade the specifications of their engines, as ICOMIA’s secretary general, Tony Rice confirmed. Any new builds whose keels have been laid on or after 1 January, Rice added, will be subject to the full force of MARPOL’s requirements.

On Tuesday 25 June, 2013, Superyacht Events is hosting its Environment & MARPOL Management Meeting. To register for the event please click here.

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