Largest EU ports support moves on sulphur

Hamburg, Antwerp and Rotterdam are satisfied with the European Parliament Environment Committee voting results Hamburg, Antwerp and Rotterdam are satisfied with the European Parliament Environment Committee voting results

Three major European ports, Hamburg, Antwerp and Rotterdam, have said they are satisfied with the European Parliament’s ‘sulphur emissions’ resolution, which goes beyond the IMO regulations.

The EU’s Environment Committee is seeking stricter sulphur standards to be applied outside the already existing Emission Control Areas (North Sea, Baltic and the south and east coasts of the United Kingdom).

In addition to the ECAs, from 2015  the committee is looking to apply a general standard of 0.1% sulphur content in marine fuels to the '12-mile-zone' along all EU coasts. There will also be 0.5% and 0.1% sulphur limits coming into force (in 2015 and 2020 respectively) in all the EU’s Exclusive Economic Zones and Pollution Control Areas.

To avoid a complete ban on higher sulphur fuels, the European Parliament Environmental Committee has adopted an amendment that allows the use of 3.5% sulphur fuel in combination with scrubber technology. A ‘fuel availability clause’ will also be included for ships that are unable to acquire low-sulphur fuel despite all reasonable efforts.

The European Parliament will vote in plenary session, probably on 21 May. Currently the Council of Ministers is discussing the European Commission proposal and the adopted amendments from the European Parliament Environment Committee. The European Parliament and the Council of Ministers need to reach common agreement regarding the definitive proposal, with the aim being to have it all finalised prior to 1 July 2012.

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