English Channel/North Sea SECA - August or November dates?

The relevant enforcement dates for the forthcoming English Channel/North Sea Sulphur Emission Control Area (SECA) are 11 August 2007, as per the European Union (EU) Directive, and 22 November 2007 for the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Regulation (MARPOL Annex VI). This leaves a three-month discrepancy between the EU Directive requirements and the implementation date of the International Regulations. So which set of Regulations should ships abide by during these three months if the operator is to consider UNCLOS, and the flag of the ship entering the SECA, as well as its port of destination within or outside the SECA?


If your ship has a European flag, and that state has introduced the EU Directive into its law, then the ship has to abide by the terms of the flag state law and thus the EU Directive. If your ship is to enter an EU port that has introduced this Directive into its legal system then, as a condition of "port entry", the ship should comply with the EU Directive. This means burning 1.5% sulphur fuel from 11 August when entering and transiting the new SECA area to the port.


If your ship does not fly an EU state flag, then there is no requirement for the ship to comply under UNCLOS (innocent passage conditions) provided that it does not go to an EU port or a port that is governed by EU requirements (e.g. Norway) where port state control could board the vessel and apply the terms of the EU Directive.


However, our advice to members is to adopt a prudent position and consider the North Sea and the English Channel as a SECA from 11 August 2007.


For a technical view on the implementation of SECAs from DNV Petroleum Services click here for recent article in Lloyd's List.

Contact: Dragos Rauta