NZ commits to reducing ship emissions

pollution New Zealand will sign up to Annex VI of MARPOL. Image: Pixabay

New Zealand plans to sign up to new international maritime regulations to reduce ship emissions and lift air quality around ports and harbours, associate transport minister Julie Anne Genter has announced.

Subject to completion of the Parliamentary treaty examination process, in 2021 New Zealand will sign up to Annex VI of MARPOL, an IMO convention for the prevention of pollution from ships. In accordance with the convention, a 0.5% sulphur cap will come into effect on 1 January 2020 and apply to commercial ships trading outside sulphur Emission Control Areas.

Ms Genter said: “Joining this convention will improve the health and environmental impact of shipping emissions, particularly around our port communities.

“It will give Maritime NZ the power to inspect foreign ships for compliance with new emission standards and take enforcement action if necessary.

“Signing up will also ensure New Zealand has a seat at the table as new global greenhouse gas emission maritime regulations are negotiated over the next few years.”

Catch up needed

Ms Genter noted that while sulphur cap is enforceable from 1 January, the previous government did not initiate the process of signing up to this convention and so there will be a longer lead in time before these regulations apply to New Zealand’s domestic ships.

“The treaty examination process means that New Zealand would sign up to Annex VI in late 2021. Stricter limits on sulphur limits would then apply to domestic ships from early 2022. This gives our shipping and fishing industries sufficient time to prepare for the new regulations,” said Ms Genter.

MARPOL Annex VI will also be the platform for new IMO measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from ships, which are expected to be ready in 2023.

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