In future we will see significantly stricter environmental regulations for cargo and passenger ships. From 2020 onwards there will be a worldwide ban on the use of fuels containing more than 0.5 per cent sulphur. That was the recent resolution of the Environmental Committee of the International Maritime Organisation IMO in London. Previously the threshold was 3.5 per cent. A new regulation is to be introduced for the North Sea and the Baltic Sea from 2021 ruling that ships must reduce their emissions of nitrogen oxides by roughly 75 per cent. However, this applies only to newly-constructed ships.
The environmental organisation NABU, which was represented as an observer alongside the German Shipowners’ Association at the week-long session of the Environmental Committee in London, welcomed the agreement as “the right, even if a long-overdue step”. Getting the departure from heavy fuel oil underway now and pushing maritime shipping as a whole to increased environmental and climate protection is the right step said NABU’s National Secretary Leif Miller. He went on to say that the sector and its responsible actors have ducked away from the problem for decades. He says this is a clear signal that the international community is taking back control when it comes to reducing exhaust emissions.
Calls for a roadmap for global CO2 data collection system
The vote of the IMO was awaited with suspense since a postponement of the decision to 2025 had been considered upon the insistence of the oil industry, shipping companies and influential flag states. Even with the soon-to-be reduced sulphur content of fuels, it was said that the risks associated with heavy fuel oil would be far from averted. In the run-up to the IMO conference several international industry associations called for the development of a roadmap and proposals for a common CO2 data collection system for shipping.