North America: ECA compliance - updated EPA guidance


Published: 12 December 2014

The Environmental Protection Agency in the US has issued an important update to its guidance on upcoming ECA fuel sulphur content compliance which all members trading to and from the North American ECA will need to take note of.

The development

With three weeks to go, the new ultra low sulphur fuel requirements for MARPOL Emission Control Areas (ECAs) are rapidly approaching enforcement date 1 January 2015.

Post that date only 0.10% sulphur content fuel will be permissible for use in ECA areas.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the US has now issued an update on its guidance for the North American ECA compliance. A copy of this guidance is republished alongside this advisory.

It is important to note that in the United States there are two federal agencies which have regulatory enforcement powers with respect to MARPOL compliance, the EPA as well as the United States Coast Guard (USCG).

The new guidance essentially means that for the purpose of compliance vessels will have to consider the use of distillate fuels if no other compliant ultra low sulphur fuel is available prior to entering the ECA zones.

This is a development over the previous position, stated back in 2012 when it would appear that the use of distillates was not necessary for compliance in the absence of the availability of other compliant fuel.

Loss prevention advice

Members will be aware of the significantly high profile lead in to the 1 January 2015 from regulatory authorities, shipping representative groups as well as the shipping media.

All indications are that the new regulations will be strictly enforced and that there will be continuous lobbying from interested parties and groups towards governments and enforcement agencies to promote such rigorous enforcement.

Members should therefore ensure that they are fully ready, on board the vessel, shore side and contractually, to meet the new requirements.

The Association has produced a detailed guide to this topic.

The Association is grateful to Messrs. Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads for their input.