The European Community Shipowners’ Association (ECSA) has issued an open letter requesting a harmonised and realistic approach to the EU Sulphur Directive.
The Sulphur Directive comes into force on 1 January 2015; it requires that within Sulphur Emission Control Areas (SECAs), ships must use bunker fuels with a sulphur content below 0.1%, or use abatement methods to comply with the sulphur cap.
The European Sulphur Emission Control Area includes the English Channel, the North Sea and the Baltic Sea.
In the letter – signed by the secretary general of ECSA, Patrick Verhoeven – the shipping association asks that compliance be monitored through delivery notes, and that fuel sampling should only be used where there is evidence of non-compliance.
ECSA is concerned that marginal deviations in sulphur emissions, contamination during fuel switching and technical operational issues might lead shipping companies to face penalties, despite acting in good faith and striving to comply.