Having been adopted by the IMO, the Mediterranean Sea Emission Control Area for sulphur oxides and particulate matter is set to come into effect on 1 May 2025.
Using Alternative Solutions
In December 2022, at the 79th session of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 79), amendments to MARPOL Annex VI were adopted to establish a Mediterranean Emission Control Area (ECA) for sulfur oxides and particulate matter. The amendments will enter into force on 1 May 2024, but the requirements will take effect after a 12-month grace period as per Regulation 14.7 of MARPOL Annex VI. Hence, from 1 May 2025, ships operating in the entire Mediterranean Sea will be required to burn fuel oil with a sulfur content not exceeding 0.10% m/m or use alternative solutions for compliance such as exhaust gas cleaning systems (scrubbers) or sulfur-free fuels.
Regional Sulphur Limit
While the Mediterranean Sea has become the fifth area worldwide to be designated an ECA under Regulation 14.3 of MARPOL Annex VI, it is worth noting that a number of regions, states and ports around the world continue to implement their own strict sulfur emission limits. A round-up of some of these places is included in our insight “Regional sulfur emission limits at a glance”.
Ship operators must therefore ensure that crews are familiar with the sulphur emission limits in force, not only in the MARPOL designated ECAs, but in all jurisdictions to which they trade. Crews should also be provided with clear procedures and guidance to this effect.
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