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jueves, 22 de abril de 2010

IMO approves new ECA

Source: Motorship

The world’s largest marine Emissions Control Area (ECA) has been approved by the International Maritime Organization.

Ships operating in waters off the North American coasts will be forced to use dramatically cleaner fuel and technology. The move is likely to make it easier for the EU to designate ECAs in European waters.

The IMO’s decision last month to approve the ECA proposal came in the shortest possible time, just one year since it was first proposed. It means ships visiting American and Canadian ports will have to use fuels with a sulphur content of no more than 1,000 parts per million from 2012, and be fitted with advanced emissions control technologies starting in 2016.
If properly enforced, the new rules are expected to reduce sulphur content in fuel by 98%, which in turn will reduce particulate matter emissions by 85% and nitrogen oxides by 80%.

The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the benefits will extend hundreds of kilometres inland, bringing nearly five million people relief from acute breathing problems by 2020, and avoiding 8,300 premature deaths each year. “This is a change that will benefit millions of people and set in motion new innovations for the shipping industry,” said Lisa Jackson of the EPA, in thanking the IMO for “keeping our air clean and our communities healthy.”

T&E‘s shipping specialist Bill Hemmings said, “This is one of the most significant decisions to come out of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC). It clears the way for the EU to move ahead on other ECAs, in particular introducing limits on NOx emissions in the Baltic and North Seas and sulphur and NOx limits around European coastlines. It’s another example of how setting strict standards creates incentives for cleaner shipping.”

At the committee’s meeting in London last month, it also agreed to set up an expert group to assess the practicalities of market-based instruments for reducing shipping’s greenhouse gas emissions. The group will present its findings in September.

The MEPC also made progress on an energy efficiency design index (EEDI) for new ships. It was agreed that greenhouse gasses should be treated as an air pollutant under the organisation’s MARPOL VI convention which would enable an efficiency standard to be adopted by majority vote in the MEPC as early as September.

The IMO appears to be ahead of the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s efforts to combat emissions from aeroplanes. At its meeting in Montreal in February, the organisation’s environment committee CAEP agreed the terms of reference for developing a CO 2 standard for new aircraft types by 2013. Research has shown that the fuel efficiency of new aircraft has hardly improved in the last 20 years, exposing industry claims as unfounded.

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