INTERTANKO meets key MEPs to discuss the Sulphur in Fuel Directive

It is expected that the major amendments to the Sulphur in Fuel Directive 1999/32 will be concluded and adopted during 2005. The European Parliament will vote on its second reading amendments on 13 April 2005. Prior to this vote there will be informal contact between the Parliament and the Council in order to try to reach an agreement and avoid a conciliation procedure (third and final discussion round between the European Parliament and the Environment Council).

INTERTANKO, continuing to play a leading role on these developments, met with two key European Union (EU) Members of Parliament (MEPs) who are directly involved in the regulatory process: Mrs. Satu Hassi, (Finnish MEP), who is the European Parliament’s Green Rapporteur for the Sulphur in Fuel Directive, and Mr. Aldis Kuskis (Latvian MEP), who is a member of the powerful European People's Party (EPP) group in Brussels (a coalition of conservative MEPs from all EU Member States).

INTERTANKO:

  1. was encouraged by the amendments to the Sulphur in Fuel Directive that are in general aligned to the MARPOL Annex VI (Regulations for the prevention of air pollution from ships);
  2. was concerned about the requirement for the use of a very low sulphur content fuel when ships are at berth (i.e. 0.1% sulphur content by 2008 or 2010 - still to be decided), which INTERTANKO finds premature. It seems, however, there could be a political agreement between the European Parliament and the European Commission during the second reading that this requirement is maintained;
  3. was concerned that such very low sulphur content fuels will not fulfil the SOLAS safety requirement for flash point temperature;
  4. supported Mrs. Hassi's proposal to introduce an amendment which would include the authorities’ obligation to ensure that compliant marine fuels are supplied to ships. We also explained that the ship operators’ experience with the current Sulphur in Directive provision (i.e. use of 0.2% sulphur content marine diesel and marine gas oils as fuels) demonstrates a complete lack of availability of such fuel, and also that ships are being unfairly fined in the Netherlands for not having this type of (unobtainable) fuel on board ship;
  5. proposed that any EU proposals to lower the sulphur content in fuels being used by ships in Sulphur Emissions Control Areas (SECAs) be addressed through IMO;
  6. proposed that any EU proposals to expand the SECAs to the EU territorial waters and the EU Member States’ Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) be withheld and addressed within the larger context of future IMO discussions on these matters.

Contact: Dragos Rauta