China's Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) is requiring all vessels that enter the Suzhou, Nantong, Shanghai and Zhejiang Emissions Control Areas (ECAs) within the larger Yangtze River Delta ECA to use fuel oil not exceeding 0.5% sulphur levels.
The new requirements are set to come into effect from 1 October 2018, according to a circular published by China Reinsurance Corporation and Huatai Insurance Agency.
The circular said MSA offices in the Jiangsu, Shanghai and Zhejiang regions, which sit on China's east coast and encompass the Yangtze River Delta, issued the notices in late August, covering seagoing vessels, river and coastal vessels. The regulations also require vessels to use shore power in ports equipped to provide it.
From 1 October 2018, the regulations “require ships entering Suzhou and Nantong ECA area in Yangtze River Delta ECA to use low sulphur content fuel not exceeding 0.5%,” the Jiangsu-related circular said.
“Inland ships and river-coastal ships are required to use diesel oil that meets relevant standard. From 1 October 2018, ships shall give priority to use shore power, in case the ship and calling port has suitable condition,” it said.
From 29 October to 11 November 2018, the circular said that ships with shore power connection capabilities should use shore power when berthing at terminals equipped to provide it in Suzhou, Wuxi, Nantong and Changzhou.
Acceptable alternatives to the low-sulphur fuel requirements include both “clean energy” and exhaust gas cleaning systems, the circular reported.
The new regulations in Suzhou and Nantong follow similar requirements from the Shanghai and Zhejiang MSAs covering the port of Shanghai as well as Ningbo and Zhoushan. The only vessels excluded from the regulations are “ships or crafts to be used for military or sporting purposes and fishing boats,” but under some circumstances, including when use of low-sulphur fuel would be “unsafe”, vessels can apply for immunity or exemption to the rules.
“Given the above, owners are recommended to take appropriate measures when calling Shanghai, Ningbo-Zhoushan and Jiaxing port as from 1 October 2018 to ensure satisfaction of relevant requirements and to avoid any delay or penalty to the ship,” the circular advised.
The operational realities of the 2020 sulphur cap will be discussed in detail at Riviera Maritime Media’s Asian Sulphur Cap 2020 Conference which takes place 24-25 October 2018 in Singapore.