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Web alert: Hong Kong Air Pollution Control Regulations

30 March 2015

As per the press release issued by the Environmental Protection Department of Hong Kong, a new regulation requiring ocean-going vessels (OGVs) to comply with 0.5% sulphur limit will be enforced in Hong Kong waters with effect from 1 July 2015.
The regulation requires vessels of 500gt and above, certificated under the SOLAS convention, to burn only compliant fuel while at berth in Hong Kong, other than during the first hour after arrival and the last hour before departure.
Compliant fuel is low-sulphur marine fuel (sulphur content not exceeding 0.5%), LNG or any other fuels approved by the Director of Environmental Protection.
In the regulation, berth means a place in the waters of Hong Kong at which the vessel is not underway; arrival means the moment when the vessel is first securely moored or anchored at a berth; and departure means the moment when the vessel is untied from its berth.
Equivalent arrangements to achieve the same or lower sulphur dioxide emissions might be accepted. This is taken to mean that vessels with scrubbers installed that can achieve the same or better emissions, will be able to use these scrubbers for the purpose of compliance with this regulation. However, an application must be made in writing to the authorities at least 14 days before the date on which the vessel intends to make its first exempted call at Hong Kong.
Members are advised to ensure compliance with these stricter requirements starting 1 July 2015. At each change-over, OGVs are required to record the date/time of their arrival and departure and the date/time of commencement and completion of fuel change-over operations as soon as practicable after each occurrence.
These records are to be made in a logbook as prescribed by the ship’s flag state and retained on-board together with the related bunker delivery note of the fuel delivered to the vessel for at least 3 years, readily available for inspection at all reasonable times.
Shipmasters and owners found in violation could face a maximum fine of HKD200,000 and imprisonment for six months, while those who fail to keep proper records could face a maximum fine of HKD50,000 and imprisonment for three months.