Ocean-going vessels (OGVs) that are to berth in Hong Kong port are going to be required to comply with using low-sulphur fuel in order to improve the quality of the air. The new requirements come into effect as of today (July 1st, 2015).
According to the stipulations of the Under the Air Pollution Control (Ocean Going Vessels) (Fuel at Berth) Regulation (Cap. 311AA) OGVs berthing in Hong Kong are to use low-sulphur fuel with a sulphur content level that does not exceed the 0.5% mark. It also enables OGVs to use liquefied natural gas (LNG) and other types of fuel with the use of which a reduction of sulphur dioxide (SO2) emission can be achieved to at least the same degree as with the usage of low-sulphur fuel.
If a given OGV employs a certain type of technology that makes it possible for it to produce the same or lower SO2 emission levels in comparison to low-sulphur marine fuel, the Director of Environmental Protection might wave off the requirement for it to switch to compliant fuel while berthing at the Hong Kong port.
An Environmental Protection Department (EPD) spokesperson elaborated on the Regulations by pointing out some of the fundamental requirements that an OGV must comply with:
- Usage of compliant fuel while at berth; exception only applies for first hour following arrival and the last hour preceding departure;
- Record the arrival and departure dates and times along with the fuel switch operation
- All relevant record and bunker delivery notes are to be kept on board for a three-year time period
If the master and owner of an OGV is to use non-compliant fuel while berthing at the port of Hong Kong, he is going to be liable to a fine of USD 200,000 at maximum and a six-month prison sentence. Those that fail to record or keep the required data mentioned above are going to be liable to a fine of up to USD 50,000 and prison time of up to three months.
A berthing OGV’s SO2 emissions account for approximately 40% of the vessel’s total SO2 emission amount while staying in Hong Kong. The new regulations are to reduce SO2 emission levels by over 60% thus managing to greatly contribute for improving the air quality of Hong Kong and decreasing the risk of potential health problems.