European Parliament votes on the first reading of the Sulphur Content in Marine Fuel Directive

On 4 June 2003, the European Parliament voted on the first reading of the Sulphur Content in Marine Fuel Directive.

The adopted amendments will now be presented to the Environment Council Working Group in order for them to prepare for the EU Environment Ministers’ discussion in the autumn this year.

The European Parliament adopted a three-phase approach to sulphur content in marine fuel in the EU, also including vessels whose voyage began outside the Community:

1) SOx emissions control areas (as defined by IMO) and passenger ships are to use 0.5% sulphur in fuel by 2008.

2) Sulphur in fuel is to be reduced to 1.5% in territorial and exclusive economic areas by 2010.

3) Sulphur in fuel is to be reduced from 1.5% to 0.5% in territorial and exclusive economic areas by 2012.

The requirement for 0.2% sulphur in fuel at berth and inland waterways has remained unchanged although the Environment Committee had proposed to include the 0.2% requirement for territorial seas. The EP adopted, however, INTERTANKO’s amendments defining more clearly when vessels are at berth and on inland waterways. INTERTANKO has also obtained an exemption for tanker boilers’ use of 0.2% sulphur fuel at berth until 2010.

Abatement technologies have been allowed on a trial basis. The Commission will decide whether to allow abatement methods as an alternative or a complement to the use of low sulphur fuel (0.2% and 0.5%). The Directive will be revised by 2007 and the revision may include proposals for economic instruments including emissions trading.

Contact: Dragos Rauta