NOx controls for the Baltic on the horizon
Baltic Sea nations have finalised their application to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for a nitrogen oxides emission control area (NECA), but will not make a decision on when to submit it until June at the earliest. The application was agreed at a meeting of the Helcom commission in early March, but it cannot be submitted until Lithuania and Latvia have finished internal consultations on the proposal.
Designation of the Baltic as a NECA is expected to cut NOx emissions from ships by 60 per cent, but as the stricter emission standards will apply only to newlybuilt ships after 2016 the gradual phase-out of existing more polluting vessels means that the full effects will not be seen until 2045. Lower NOx levels would improve air quality and cut eutrophication in the Baltic.
Sources: ENDS Europe Daily, 8 March 2012 , Helcom press release: http://www.helcom.fi/press_office/news_helcom/2012/en_GB/HELCOM33_outcomes