Sulphur control enforcement draws industry criticism


The enforcement of sulphur emission controls in northern Europe has been criticised by a leading shipping figure.

Niels Bjorn Kristensen, head of regulatory affairs at Danish shipping giant AP Møller-Mærsk, said efforts to detect violations of sulphur emission control area (SECA) rules in northern Europe and punishment of shipowners violating the rules left quite a bit to be desired.

Speaking at a conference on sustainable shipping as part of Danish Maritime Days, Kristensen said that, at the moment, inspections of bunker fuel compliance were only carried out in ports in the northern European SECA area. This extends from the western end of the English Channel to the North Sea and the Baltic.

National boundaries form grey areas when it comes to who is responsible for inspections in economic zones at sea and punishments are not enough to deter prospective violators, he argued.

A court in Norway recently fined a Dutch shipowner EUR12,200 (USD16,000) for non-compliance, but it is not known how many times and for long the vessel in question sailed in SECA waters using illegal fuel. A large vessel can save USD100,000/day in bunker costs by violating the rules, he added.

The lack of detail about the number of violations and duration of each case of violation of the SECA rules is a weakness of the current regime, he said.



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