Are your fuels ready for the Marpol regulations?

The Marpol regulations centre round ensuring ships, fixed and floating drilling rigs and other sea-based platforms, limit pollution in the Baltic and North Sea Emission Control Area. Annex VI, which covers the prevention of air pollution, was brought into force in 2005 and ship owners have until January 2015 to comply.

Part of Marpol Annex VI states that any fuel used on board qualifying vessels in the Baltic and North Sea Emission Control area, should not exceed a sulphur content of 0.10%. At the moment, the three year average sulphur content in fuel oil stands at 2.46%, meaning many ships, that haven’t done so already, will need to take steps to improve fuel quality.

Fuels covered include heavy fuel oils (HFO), marine diesel oils and gas oils. The regulations also prohibit the deliberate emissions of ozone-depleting substances, such as those which could occur through burning HFOs.

Does Marpol effect you?
Marpol Annex VI applies to the following equipment:

  • Diesel engines of 130 KW and above installed on ships keel-laid on or after 1 January 2000
  • Diesel engines installed on ships keel-laid between 1 January 1990 and 1 January 2000
  • Incinerators installed on-board on or after 1 January 2000

Certification requirements are dependent on the size of the vessel and when it was constructed. Ships of 400 gross tons and above engaged in international voyages through countries that have ratified the conventions, or ships flying the flag of those countries, are required to have an International Air Pollution Prevention Certificate (IAPP Certificate).

Meeting the regulations
Firstly, ship owners must make sure they choose fuel suppliers which guarantee product that meets the stipulated low sulphur content; gas oil is likely to be the new fuel of choice. Before new fuels are used, however, their containment tanks and fuel systems must be properly cleaned to prevent the risk of contamination. In addition, qualifying vessels must keep a list of equipment containing ozone depleting substances on board, plus take steps to limit Nitros Oxide (NOs) levels.

To comply with the Marpol regulations, expert help is available. Adler and Allan can drain and fully clean vessel tanks ready for changeover, with a nationally available team ensuring this is completed as swiftly as possible, guaranteeing compliance in time for Annex VI’s January 2015 deadline.


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