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Web Alert: implementation of Emission Control Areas in China

15 December 2015

The Ministry of Transport of China has issued regulations designating three emission control areas (ECAs) in its territorial waters.
 
The three ECAs will be established in the coastal and inland waters near the Pearl River Delta (excluding the waters of Hong Kong and Macao), Yangtze River Delta and Bohai Bay region covering the eleven ‘key ports’.
 
The implementation of the fuel switch is divided into stages in order to gradually tighten the regulations over the next few years by putting a 0.5% sulphur content cap on bunkers used within the zones.

Starting from 1 January 2016, the authorities will ensure strict enforcement of the existing international conventions and domestic laws on sulphur oxides, particulate matter and nitrogen oxides. Further, the ports within the ECAs may voluntarily require ships at berth to use fuel with less than 0.5% sulphur content. Hence, it will be necessary to monitor developments on a port-by port basis.

As of 1 January 2017, all ships calling at the key ports within the ECAs will be required to use fuel with no more than a 0.5% sulphur content while at berth, except during the first hour after arrival and the last hour before departure.
 
From 1 January 2018, the 0.5% at-berth fuel requirement will be extended to cover all ports within the ECAs.
 
From 1 January 2019, the regulation will extend to require all ships operating in waters within the ECAs, to use a fuel with a sulphur content not exceeding 0.5%.
 
Under the China's ECA regulation, alternative methods of compliance will be permitted, such as the use of shore power, using clean energy, or exhaust gas scrubbers.
 
The effectiveness of the above mentioned requirements will be evaluated by the authorities by 31 December 2019 to determine whether to take the following steps in the future:
(i) Reducing the maximum sulphur content to 0.1% for ships operating within ECAs;
(ii) Enlarging the geographical area of the ECAs;
(iii) Implementing other further measures.
 
According to the regulation, MSA shall enhance inspection of IAPP certificate, oil record book, fuel supply document and check of fuel quality, etc. to ensure implementation of the relevant requirements.
 
Members are advised to keep a close check on the requirements through local agents prior to their ship’s call at an affected port within the ECAs; and to ensure compliance with the domestic regulations.
 
For full details, please refer to the attached ‘Huatai Insurance Agency & Consultant Service Ltd’ circular on the right.