The Maritime Industry Must Reduce Sulfur Emissions by 2020

marine-emissions-856850_1280In the latest in environmental maritime regulation news, the Marine Environment Protection Committee by the IMO has lowered the global sulfur emissions limit to 0.5% from the current limit of 3.5%. The new limit was considered for 2025 but was finalized to go into effect in 2020 as of yesterday.
Such a significant decrease in emissions will require the shipping industry to commit to serious change in order to remain compliant. It may cost the industry as much as $35-$40 billion which comes at a time when specific sectors in maritime are undergoing a particularly difficult time, financially. However, the new limit is a great step for the environment and more specifically, human health. Sulfur contributes to air pollution and it sulfur oxides can harm individuals by leading to such conditions as lung diseases and cancers.
Compliance Option: Cleaner Fuel
Many are setting their sights on the prospect of lower sulfur fuel. It could be a cost-efficient option for many although it could definitely serve to weed out refineries that are unprepared to produce higher quality products and fuel that has been treated to contain less of the substance. While some professionals are questioning the potential availability of lower sulfur fuel in light of the dramatic demand that was created in the industry overnight, other professionals insist there will be enough resources for all. The International Chamber of Shipping Association’s Director of Policy and External Relations, Simon Bennett, had this to say… “There will be much to do between now and 2020 to ensure that sufficient quantities of compliant marine fuel of the right quality will indeed be available, and that this radical switch over to cleaner fuels will be implemented smoothly …without distorting shipping markets or having negative impacts on the movement of world trade.”
Compliance Option: Scrubbers
Another option is to custom outfit vessels with scrubbers, devices that are able to regulate the amount of air pollution produces by ships. They pose an economically viable option for any vessel that would be used for at least another five years. However, there are specific regulations and conditions that must be heeded in order for firms to remain compliant using scrubbers.
While the crossover to meet new regulation will take some time, effort and financial investment. The impact on human health and the environment will be historic. Transport & Environment’s Bill Hemmings says the limit change will mean shipping will contribute 1.5% of the planet’s air pollution, a steep decline from the current status of 5%.
If you have questions about compliance with these or other environmental regulations, please call us at (954) 327-2032.


10-31-2016 at 4:43