Sulphur experts join forces to tackle sulphur emissions

On 30 September and 1 October, representatives from 12 European countries, Russia and Canada met together in the Netherlands to discuss how to tackle sulphur emissions from commercial shipping. The meeting was hosted by the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT). The meeting was focused on harmonising the approach by the various relevant bodies to tackling sulphur emissions. Harmonisation of enforcement by the collaborating countries is needed to prevent unfair competition and to promote compliance.

During these two days the countries agreed to implement a harmonised system of monitoring and enforcement for the Baltic Sea, North Sea and English Channel SECA area, making the most effective possible use of people and resources. Issues discussed by the countries included exchanging data on non-compliant vessels and exchanging experience in the use of remote sensing (for example sniffer drones and monitoring posts), developing calculation models for auditing fuel logbooks, setting up a harmonised system for sanctions and organising an inspection data system. The workshops were a follow up to an earlier meeting with the same parties in Denmark in February 2015.

During the coming months the inspectorates from the SECA countries will be working out the concrete proposals in further detail to produce an international SECA inspection plan for enforcing the Sulphur Directive over the coming five years.

EU Sulphur Directive

Ships sailing in the North Sea, the English Channel and the Baltic Sea must reduce the sulphur in fuel to maximum 0.1 per cent. To meet emissions requirements, ships need to either use a low-sulphur fuel or switch to an alternative fuel such as LNG, or install a scrubber exhaust gas filter so that heavy fuel oil can still be used. In the Netherlands the ILT monitors the compliance of shipping with the directive.