IMO addresses ship emissions

Published: Thursday 15 May 2008

Time to distil bunker fuel The Marine Environment Protection Committee of the International Maritime Organization (imo) has recommended tough and potentially costly regulations to curb harmful pollutants emitted by ships.

The regulations will require ships to limit their nitrogen oxides and particulate matter emissions, and to slash the permitted level of sulphur content in marine fuels from 4.5 per cent to 0.5 per cent by 2020. This will necessitate a wholesale switch to distillates or marine diesel oil. "Since the oil industry is under no mandate to deliver a solution, so we have to build up the market for low sulphur fuels on a global basis," says Peter Hinchliffe of the International Chamber of Shipping. The proposals will be submitted for adoption at imo's October 2008 meeting and are expected to take effect in 2010.

Environmentalists demand tougher regulations. The measures might help reduce the global effects of ship emissions but will do little to improve the atmosphere when ships are in proximity to population areas, they say.

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