Sulphur Limit For Cruise Ships Berthing At Sydney Port



The NSW government passed an Environment protection Operations Amendment Regulation 2015 regarding sulphur fuel oil used in Cruise ships berthing at or visiting Sydney port.

The definition of the new regulation is as follows:

“passenger ship not having a cargo deck, designed exclusively for commercial transportation of over 100 passengers in overnight accommodation on a sea voyage” to use fuel oil with a sulphur content of 0.10% or less in all main engines, auxiliary engines, generators and auxiliary boilers: While berthed as from 1 October 2015 onwards.  Berth would mean a place where a vessel is secured or anchored while in a port.   Low sulphur oil fuel must be used during the berthing period while berthed within Sydney Harbour as from 1 July 2016 onwards.  The berthing period commences one hour after the vessel has been anchored and concludes one hour prior to anchor is aweigh.

The regulation clarifies that vessels using the following fuel need not comply with the sulphur regulation provided by the NSW EPA.

  • Cruise ships using Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG),
  • Compressed Natural Gas (CNG),
  • Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).

Ships using alternative emission reduction methods such as use of exhaust gas scrubbers etc. that result in emission reduction equivalent to using low sulphur fuel oil, must obtain prior approval from the NSW EPA , if they wish to qualify exemption.

The rules also provide a list of situations or circumstances under which a vessel may temporarily get exempt from the regulation.  For instance, a vessel within Sydney harbour, that intends to undergo modifications that require it to be stationed at a dry dock and if the scheduled dry docking period will be completed before 1st July 2016, such a ship can get an exemption on a temporary basis.  Similarly, if a cruise vessel makes an unscheduled emergency call at Sydney port, irrespective of using a non-compliant fuel, it shall receive temporary exemption.  Similarly, in a situation when all compliant fuel oil has been consumed following a delayed departure, under such a situation, the vessel shall not be penalised.

Non-compliance is an offence and shall be dealt with imposition of financial penalty, if proven.

The above-mentioned points are only a brief summary of the new regulation.  The Protection of the Environment Operations (Clean Air) Amendment (Cruise Ships) Regulation 2015 shall contain all details including information of documentary requirements.  The NSW EPA intends to publish an information brochure addressing the new requirements as well as various application forms prior to 1 October 2015.

Source: West of England P&I