Ships calling Canadian ports are in compliance with the 0.10% sulphur limit in the North American Emission Control Area (NA-ECA), according to results of tests conducted by Transport Canada (TC).
An official with TC told the International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) “that the sulphur content of all the samples taken have been verified by an accredited laboratory and all have been compliant.”
Marine Safety Inspectors started checking ECA compliance through on-site fuel sampling and testing on August 22, 2016, using portable fuel analyzers onboard vessels where available.
Portable sulphur analyzers can be used to assess initial compliance, with inspectors sending samples to an accredited laboratory for confirmation.
Currently, all the analyzer tests are being followed up with a sample tested at an accredited laboratory, the TC official said.
The TC official confirmed that inspections will be targeted at ships in all Canadian ports. Transport Canada does not, however, have a target in terms of the percentage of ships that inspectors will require samples from.
If samples are confirmed to be non-compliant at an accredited laboratory, any enforcement action would be “dependent on the circumstance and the decision of the Marine Safety Inspector,” the official said.
The shipping industry is facing increasingly stricter air emission limits all over the world. Ships berthed in EU ports have used marine fuel with a sulphur content not exceeding 0.10 per cent since January 1, 2010. The 0.10 per cent sulphur cap on fuel in use within the NA-ECA has been in force since January 1, 2015, and in the State of California since January 1, 2014. A more recent example is China’s introduction of a 0.50 per cent sulphur cap in three major port regions, marine insurer Gard informs.
As shipowners and operators continue to meet applicable sulphur oxides emission limits by changing to compliant low sulphur fuel prior to entering one of the regulated areas, use of onboard spot sampling of a ship’s fuel is becoming common as a means for port state control officers (PSCOs) to verify compliance.