Sulfur Cap: Hong Kong and Taiwan Align with China
Hong Kong and Taiwan are aligning their emission regulations with the Chinese emission control area (ECA) requirements for a local 0.50 percent sulfur cap from January 1, 2019, according to insurer Gard.
Hong Kong will soon replace its current Fuel at Berth Regulation requiring ships to burn fuel with a sulfur content not exceeding 0.50 percent while at berth with a regulation that extends the standard to ships operating in Hong Kong waters.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Transport and Communication has also announced it will implement a 0.50 percent sulfur cap one year ahead of the IMO's global requirements. According to Gard’s local correspondent, there will be no designated domestic ECAs in Taiwan, but from January 1, 2019, ships not fitted with scrubbers must burn fuel with a sulfur content not exceeding 0.50 percent when entering its international commercial port areas.
In September 2015, China designated the Pearl River and Yangtze River Deltas, and Bohai-rim Waters as domestic ECAs, and ships not fitted with scrubbers must burn fuel with a sulfur content not exceeding 0.50 percent while operating in those waters starting January 1, 2019. Some media reports have indicated that China may expand the geographical range of the sulfur cap to apply to ships sailing within its entire territorial sea. However, Gard is not aware of formal notice to this effect.
An IMO guidance on the development of ship implementation plans was approved during MEPC73 and will soon be issued as MEPC.1/Circ. 878. The International Chamber of Shipping has also issued guidance to assist ship operators in meeting the new requirements.