EU Sulphur Directive - guidance on enforcement

The European Commission/DG ENV has posted aFrequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document on their website giving clarifications on several aspects of the EU Sulphur Directive. We quote below the guidance given on the enforcement of the recently adopted amendments to this directive. 

3. What do the provisions on marine distillate fuels (MDO & MGO) mean in practice?
There are different provisions in Article 4 of Directive 1999/32 and the new Articles 4a and 4b of 2005/33 which relate to marine gas oils (MGO) and marine diesel oils (MDO). Confusion can arise here because the new directive is an amending proposal which has to be read in conjunction with the original directive. The following clarification is proposed:
 

·       Until 10 August 2006, the existing 0.2% sulphur limit continues to apply to all marine distillates used in EU territory, including ships in territorial seas and on inland waterways, but excluding ships in the territory of Greece, the French DOM-TOM, Madeira, the Azores and the Canary Islands. The term used in the directive is “marine gas oil” but the definition includes all marine distillates under ISO 8217: DMA, DMB, DMC and DMX grades, i.e. also including marine diesel oils. 

·       From 11 August 2006 until 31 December 2007, the 0.2% sulphur limit now applies only to marine gas oils used in EU territory with a viscosity or density falling within the ranges of viscosity or density defined for DMX and DMA grades under ISO 8217. The exemption for Greece and the outermost regions continues to apply. For DMB and DMC grade marine diesel oils the 0.2% sulphur limit in EU territory is dropped, and a less stringent limit of 1.5% sulphur is introduced with respect to fuelsplaced on the market in EU Member States’ territory. This is to allow the use of marine diesel oils to comply with the SOx Emission Control Areas, in case supplies of 1.5% S heavy fuel oil are insufficient. 

·       From 1 January 2008 until 31 December 2009, a 0.1% sulphur limit applies to marine gas oils used in EU territory with a viscosity or density falling within the ranges of viscosity or density defined for DMX and DMA grades under ISO 8217. The exemption for Greece and the outermost regions continues to apply. 

·       From 1 January 2010, the provisions originating from directive 1999/32 and relating to theuse of marine gas oils in EU territory (described above) are now deleted. Instead a 0.1% sulphur limit is introduced for marine gas oilsplaced on the market in EU Member States’ territory, and a 0.1% sulphur limit starts to apply toall types of marine fuel used by ships at berth in EU ports and by inland waterway vessels. This applies to any use of the fuel e.g. in auxiliary engines, main engines, boilers. There are the following exemptions: for ships which spend less than 2 hours at berth according to published timetables, for hybrid sea-river vessels while they are at sea, and for ships which switch off all engines and use shore-side electricity. The outermost regions continue to be exempt from this provision, but Greece does not, apart from a 2-year derogation for 16 named Greek vessels until 2012. 

Contact: Dragos Rauta