EU Council Adopts Directive on Sulfur in Marine Fuels

By MarEx 2012-11-19 15:12:00

Transport & Environment, the European sustainable transport campaigners, has welcomed the EU Council adoption of the Directive on Sulphur in Marine Fuels, which will help cut back air pollution by significantly decreasing the amount of dirty sulphur allowed in marine fuels.

The new law confirms that a global limit of 0.5% agreed in the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) will apply in all EU seas by 2020. This represents a whopping 85% cut compared with today’s 3.5% limit. Until this new agreement some uncertainty remained over the entry-into-force date of the IMO global standard in Europe. But the EU has now sent a clear signal that it wants cleaner fuels earlier rather than later while still leaving a very generous eight years for the industry to adapt.

T&E shipping specialist Antoine Kedzierski says: ‘Today's Council decision on sulphur (SO2) in marine fuels is an encouraging first step to clean up shipping emissions to air that cause 50,000 premature deaths every year in Europe. But we must stress that it’s only a first step – there are a lot of emissions problems in shipping that still have to be tackled quickly, notably greenhouse gases and nitrogen oxides (NOx). When it comes to air pollution, the EU should follow the USA and Canada by making the entire EU coastline a low-SO2 and low-NOx zone, and by ensuring that emissions targets are properly met.’

It also confirmed an even stricter sulphur limit of 0.1% for 2015 which applies to so-called Sulphur Emissions Control Areas (SECAs) in the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the English Channel.

Also View: Council Backs Cleaner Marine Fuel Standards