Agreement on SO2 in marine fuels
By Anne Eckstein | Wednesday 16 May 2012
2) emissions from maritime transport are set to be slashed by 90% by 2020, under an agreement sealed, on 15 May, by the Council, Commission and European Parliament on the draft directive updating standards on sulphur content in marine fuels.
The directive aligns EU legislation to the latest International Maritime Organisation (IMO) standards. It lowers maximum sulphur content of maritime fuels used in sensitive zones – known as sulphur emission control areas (SECA) – like the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the English Channel, from 1.5% (present level) to 0.1% from 1 January 2015, the standard already adopted in the IMO and in force. In other areas, authorised sulphur content will drop from 4.5% to 0.5% from 1 January 2020. The IMO has already adopted this standard while leaving the door open, based on an evaluation of the availability of compliant fuels, to a postponement until 2025 if necessary. The EU text will be more restrictive as the EP obtained the firm date of 2020, ruling out any extension.
As this issue went to press, the Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper) still had to endorse the agreement.