Ship NOx restrictions on track for 2016 in the US

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) looks set to impose tighter limits on nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions from ships operating in emission control areas (ECA) on schedule.

“EPA remains strongly committed to ensuring the important health and environmental benefits for the United States will be achieved through the Tier III NOx standards in the North American ECA,” said an agency spokeswoman.

Marine engines that comply with the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Tier III standards emit 80 per cent less NOx. The IMO was on track to stick with plans to apply Tier III regulations for new ships’ NOx emissions under MARPOL Annex VI regulations from 2016. But in a surprise move at an IMO committee meeting in May, there was a recommendation to delay implementation for five years.

Any delay would mean that significant NOx emission reductions would be lost. Moreover, failure to maintain the original deadline will unfairly punish shipping companies that invested in Tier III technology.

Although so far only the North American ECA includes the Tier III NOx standard, opposition came from countries, including Russia, worried that Europe’s ECAs would eventually follow suit. A final decision on whether or not to delay the Tier III standard will be taken by IMO in spring 2014.

Source: Sustainable Shipping News, 15 August 2013

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