To improve air quality, ocean-going vessels (OGVs) will have to use low-sulphur fuel while berthing in Hong Kong starting from July 1, 2015.
Under the Air Pollution Control (Ocean Going Vessels) (Fuel at Berth) Regulation (Cap. 311AA), which comes into effect on July 1, the sulphur content of compliant low-sulphur fuel to be used by OGVs while at berth in Hong Kong should not exceed 0.5 per cent. It also allows OGVs to use liquefied natural gas and any other fuel that can achieve the reduction of emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2) at least as effectively as the use of low-sulphur fuel.
If an OGV uses technology that can achieve the same or less emissions of SO2 when compared with low-sulphur marine fuel, the Director of Environmental Protection may exempt it from switching to compliant fuel while at berth.
A spokesman for the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) explained that the Regulation requires an OGV to:
(a) use compliant fuel while berthing except during the first hour after arrival and the last hour before departure;
(b) record the date and time of its arrival and departure and the fuel switch operation; and
(c) keep on board for three years the relevant records and bunker delivery notes.
The master and owner of any OGV using non-compliant fuel while at berth in Hong Kong will be liable to a maximum fine of $200,000 and imprisonment for six months. Those failing to record or keep the required particulars will also be liable to a maximum fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for three months.
The SO2 emissions of an OGV at berth account for about 40 per cent of the OGV’s total SO2 emissions during its stay in Hong Kong. The Regulation will reduce the emissions of SO2 and respirable suspended particulates from OGVs while berthing by more than 60 per cent, thus contributing to the improvement of Hong Kong’s air quality and a reduction of associated health risks.