Ocean-going vessels required to switch to clean fuel while at berth with effect from July 1

     The Air Pollution Control (Ocean Going Vessels) (Fuel at Berth) Regulation (Cap. 311AA) was approved by the Legislative Council today (April 15). When the new Regulation takes effect on July 1 this year, all ocean-going vessels (OGVs) will be required to use compliant fuel while berthing in Hong Kong to reduce emissions and improve air quality.

     The compliant fuels stipulated under the Regulation are low sulphur marine fuel with sulphur content not exceeding 0.5 per cent, liquefied natural gas and any other fuels approved by the Director of Environmental Protection.

     A spokesman for the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) said that the Regulation requires OGVs to use compliant fuel while at berth in Hong Kong, except during the first hour after arrival and the last hour before departure. The date and time of an OGV's arrival and departure and the fuel switch operations must be recorded. The relevant records and bunker delivery notes for the OGV need to be kept on board for three years. If an OGV uses technology that can achieve the same or less emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2) when compared with low sulphur marine fuel, the OGV may be exempted from switching to compliant fuel while at berth.

     The Regulation will take effect on July 1, 2015. The master and owner concerned of any OGV using non-compliant fuel while at berth in Hong Kong will be liable to a maximum fine of $200,000 and imprisonment for six months. Shipmasters and ship owners who fail to record or keep the required particulars will also be liable to a maximum fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for three months.

     OGVs generally run on heavy fuel oil with an average sulphur content of 2.6 per cent. The SO2 emissions of an OGV at berth account for about 40 per cent of its total SO2 emissions during its stay in Hong Kong. The new Regulation will help reduce the total emissions of SO2 and respirable suspended particulates by 12 per cent and 6 per cent respectively, thus contributing to the improvement of Hong Kong's air quality and a reduction of associated health risks.

     The EPD will hold briefing sessions for shipping trades on the details of the Regulation in May 2015.

Ends/Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Issued at HKT 15:01