Singapore Warns of Fines for Exhaust Smoke

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Published May 24, 2018 4:55 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Tuesday, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore warned vessel operators to avoid "excessive" emissions of soot, ash or dark smoke from their main and auxiliary engines during their port calls. 

"MPA takes a serious view of vessels emitting excessive smoke as it can adversely affect the air quality in the atmosphere," MPA said. "MPA will take stern action against offenders."

Singapore has a non-quantitative standard for particulate matter emissions. Its regulations invest the MPA with the authority to judge whether soot, smoke, ash or grit is emitted in a quantity or density "as may, in the opinion of the [MPA], be a nuisance." If found in violation of this statue, operators can be prosecuted, and the maximum penalty is a fine of $5,000. 

To prevent excessive particulate matter emissions, MPA recommends:

- regular maintenance of all exhaust-related equipment, including turbochargers, air coolers, exhaust gas economizers

- ensuring that generators are operating at optimal load, not at either excessively low load or over-loaded condition

- the correct fuel-air mixture for boilers and inert gas generators to ensure proper combustion and avoid unburnt fuel, smoke and carbon deposits

- frequent checks of funnel emissions to make sure that the ship is not producing excessive smoke

The regulations on smoke emissions in port vary from locality to locality. California's South Coast Air Quality Management District attempted to implement restrictions on visible smoke emissions using the Ringelmann standards, but in 2011,  federal courts struck down this rule as incompatible with the Clean Air Act. The court noted that states do not have authority to impose emissions requirements on mobile sources (without prior authorization from the federal government).