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IMO upholds 2016 deadline for Tier III emission standards

7 April 2014

The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted amendments to the MARPOL Annex VI regulation to uphold the original 2016 deadline for the implementation of Tier III NOx emission standards for ships within IMO emission control areas (ECAs). The amendments were adopted at the 66th MEPC session held from 31 March to 4 April 2014 at the IMO headquarters in London.

The amendments provide for the Tier III standards to be applied to a marine diesel engine that is installed on a ship constructed on or after 1 January 2016 and which operates in the North American ECA or the US Caribbean Sea ECA—currently the only IMO ECAs applicable to NOx, SOx and PM emissions. (The other two ECAs currently in effect, the Baltic ECA and the North Sea ECA, are applicable only to SOx emissions.)

In addition, the Tier III requirements would apply in other NOx ECAs which might be designated in the future. Tier III would apply to ships constructed on or after the date of adoption of such an emission control area by the MEPC, or a later date as may be specified in the amendment designating the NOx ECA.

The adopted amendments include a 5 year delay in Tier III requirements for certain types of recreational ships—the Tier III standards do not apply to diesel engines installed on ships constructed prior to 1 January 2021, of less than 500 gross tonnage, of 24 m or over in length, which are designed and used solely for recreational purposes.

2016 was the original deadline for the Tier III standards. However, at its 65th session, the MEPC voted to postpone the Tier III implementation by 5 years, until 2021. The postponement of the Tier III standards, proposed by Russia, was passed by a marginal majority. The United States and several European countries strongly opposed the postponement and argued that there were no technical, economical or other reasons to delay of the air quality benefit expected from the Tier III standards. The Tier III postponement could also jeopardize the business case for marine engine manufacturers and their suppliers who invested into the development of Tier III emission systems for ships (such as SCR systems) and was criticized by CIMAC, the trade association that groups all major marine engine suppliers.

The amendments adopted last week also include certain changes to the NOx Technical Code, an extension of the application of the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) to more ship categories, as well as draft amendments to MARPOL Annex VI regarding engines solely fueled by gaseous fuels, to clarify that such engines should also be covered by the Annex VI NOx regulations.

Source: IMO MEPC


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