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Eight-month low sulphur transition period begins

Ship owners given eight-month period to retrofit vessels for the consumption of 0.1 % sulphur fuel.





Updated on 04 Jan 2010 07:51 GMT

With reference to the EU Directive 2005/33/EC effective on January 1st, 2010, whereby ships at berth in European Union community ports shall use only marine fuels with maximum 0.1% sulphur content, the European Commission has accepted a 'Commission Recommendation' to grant an eight-month transition period to ships which have not yet made the necessary technical modifications to facilitate consumption of such fuels.

Published on 21st December 2009, the Commission Recommendation on the safe implementation of the use of low sulphur fuel by ships at berth in Community ports says the transition period is subject to the following conditions:

1. As part of the Member States enforcement actions against ships which fail to comply with the requirement to use fuels with a maximum permitted sulphur content of 0.1 % while at berth, Member States should request those ships to provide detailed evidence of the steps they are taking to achieve compliance.

This should include:

(a) a contract with a manufacturer and

(b) an approved retrofit plan which should be approved by the ship's classification society or, for ships flying the flag of a Member State, by the organisation having recognition in accordance with Regulation (EC) 391/2009 of the European Parliament and the Council.

The retrofit plan should clearly state the date of completion of the adaptation and certification process.

2. Member States may consider the existence of an approved retrofit plan when assessing the degree of penalties to be applied to non-complying ships.

3. Member States should take appropriate measures to raise awareness among owners, operators and seafarers of the safety risk related to fuel changeover in the absence of any necessary technical adaptation to a ship's fuel system and the necessity for training to be provided.

Ship operators should further note that while Member States will take the Commission Recommendation into consideration, it remains a 'recommendation' from a legal point of view and that individual Member States may decide not to follow it.

In additon, the required documentation has to be provided by ship owners to PSC inspectors in order to benefit from the transition period.






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