Wednesday, September 12, 2012
European Union sets stricter sulfur limits for ship fuel
The European Union voted overwhelmingly in favor of enforcing International Maritime Organization agreements to reduce sulfur in ship fuel in European seas to .5 percent by 2020 from the current 3.5 percent, with the exception of the Baltic Sea, English Channel, and North Sea emissions control areas, where those limits would be .01 percent in 2015 compared to what is presently 1 percent.
"Highly polluting shipping fuels have a serious impact on the environment but this is also the most important health reform of this parliamentary mandate. With air pollution from shipping expected to outstrip land-based emissions by 2020, urgent remedial action is needed," said EU member Satu Hassi in a statement. Hassi was reportedly directly involved with driving the draft legislation through the 27-nation EU assembly this week in Strasbourg, France that produced a 606 to 55 voting result.
The EU said in its statement that shipping firms could meet the new low sulfur requirements "by using cleaner fuels or technology, such as scrubbers, that can deliver an equivalent result."
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