Coast Guard: Voluntary Sampling for ECA Compliance
The U.S. Coast Guard has published Marine Safety Information Bulletin 03-16 to announce a voluntary fuel sampling program designed to assess industry compliance with MARPOL Annex VI Emissions Control Area (ECA) requirements.
Beginning February 29, 2016, port state control officers may request fuel samples from vessels when conducting examinations. Sampling is voluntary and vessels that provide voluntary samples will not receive sanctions if the samples are non-compliant. However, the Coast Guard may notify the Administration of the coastal state from where the fuel was purchased.
Initially, the Coast Guard will only request samples at select U. S. ports and may use sampling or testing assistance from the Environmental Protection Agency. However, the voluntary sampling program is expected to grow to include more ports and vessels, including domestic vessels.
Some media reports indicate that Baltimore and Los Angeles will be the first two ports involved.
In U.S. territorial waters, ships have been required to burn 0.1 percent sulfur fuel since January 2015. To date, the Coast Guard has not fined any vessel owners for non-compliance.
The Bulletin is available here.