Swiss container shipping company Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) paid USD 630,625 in penalties to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for violating the Ocean-Going Vessel At-Berth Regulation.
As informed, the violations were discovered during a routine audit of the company’s 2014 visits to the Port of Oakland and the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
The investigation by CARB revealed more than 2,500 violations for both the Oakland and LA/LB fleets for failing to reduce auxiliary engine power generation by at least 50 percent and for exceeding limits for auxiliary engine run time as required by the At-Berth Regulation.
According to CARB, MSC cooperated with the investigation and subsequently converted its California fleets to include 100 percent shore power-equipped vessels, and has had no further violations of the regulation.
“As the California Air Resources Board has announced, MSC cooperated with an enquiry into the implementation in 2014 of the state’s At-Berth Regulation and paid a fine. MSC made the necessary investments in its fleet to ensure vessels are shore power-equipped and fully compliant with CARB’s requirements. Since 2014, MSC has not incurred any violations of the regulation,” MSC told World Maritime News.
The fine was paid to the California Air Pollution Control Fund to support air pollution research, and the company agreed to comply with all requirements of the regulation.
“Ocean-going vessels are significant contributors to air pollution,” Todd Sax, CARB Enforcement Division Chief, said.
“Even in port, their auxiliary engines generate toxic diesel particulate pollution that impacts not only port-adjacent communities, but also entire inland regions. This regulation helps to protect all Californians and is necessary to ensure we meet our clean air goals,” he added.
Adopted in 2007, the At-Berth Regulation was designed to reduce emissions from diesel auxiliary engines on containerships, passenger ships and refrigerated-cargo ships while berthing at a California port. Vessel operators can either turn off auxiliary engines and connect to grid-based shore power or use alternative technologies to achieve equivalent emission reductions while in port.
The regulation ultimately requires a fleet operator to reduce at-berth oxides of nitrogen (NOX) and particulate matter (PM) emissions from its vessels’ auxiliary engines in port by at least 80 percent by 2020.