Friday, February 25, 2000

Kvaerner Philadelphia chief resigns
Harald Rafdal has resigned as president and chief executive of the Kvaerner Philadelphia Shipyard.Rafdal has overseen development of the shipyard since 1997, and a new CEO will be chosen to manage the facility as actual shipbuilding begins. This is now scheduled to start April 1.

Meantime, efforts continue to sell the yard in line with Kaverner Group's decision to quit shipbuilding. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Norway's Aker RGI is a strong contender. This might make sense as part of a package that would include Kvaerner Warnowerft in eastern Germany, since Aker Maritime owns neighboring Aker MTW. However, another possible purchaser for Kvaerner Philadelphia, is Singapore Technologies Marine, a unit of Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd.,It appears to have the support of Rep. Curt Weldon (R., Pa.) and Rep. Robert Brady (D., Pa.) .

Environmentalists sue to force EPA to regulate
emissions from seagoing ships

A lawsuit filed in U.S.Circuit Court yesterday seeks to compel the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to create strong emission standards for
large sea-going vessels that impose a significant smog burden on U.S .port cities, including: Seattle, Oakland, Los Angeles, Houston, New
Orleans, Miami, Baltimore, New York/New Jersey and Boston.

According to EPA, says a statement from Bluewater Network, those vessels belch 273 thousand tons per year (NOx) into U.S. air. Yesterday's lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Bluewater Network,by Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund. It challenges EPA's failure to set any standard for NOx emissions.

"Large ships cause tremendous pollution both in port and at sea," said Russell Long, Executive Director, Bluewater Network. "This leads to increased urban smog, health problems for low-income people living near port facilities, and severe climate change effects. Simply by regulating ship fuels - the dirtiest in the world - EPA would have helped the environment. The fact that they did nothing is inexcusable,"

The Bluewater Network says that the Clean Air Act requires EPA to establish regulations to reduce air pollution from non-automobile engines that significantly contribute to pollution in areas with poor air quality. Based on a 1991 study, says the environmentalist group, EPA determined that the largest type of ship engines - called "Category 3" engines - were a "substantial" contributor of important pollutants, including NOx and particulate matter.

EPA claims it does not need to regulate these engines since Annex VI to the International Convention on the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) limits NOx emissions. However, Bluewater Network argues that, "as [it} made clear to EPA before the rule was finalized, Annex VI is not an enforceable agreement and is unlikely to be anytime soon. The agreement will only go into effect when countries responsible for at least 50 percent of the world's shipping traffic ratify the treaty. So far only two nations have done so, and they represent only 5 percent of the world shipping. Although the United States has signed Annex VI, the Clinton administration has not even asked the Senate for the necessary permission to ratify it."

"EPA's refusal to regulate emissions from these ships is not only illegal, it places an unnecessary obstacle in the way of efforts to improve U.S. air quality," said Martin Wagner, attorney for Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund. "While cities work to clean up land-based pollution sources and Californians take their vehicles in for smog checks, unregulated cargo ships, tankers, and cruise ships keep belching pollution
into our cities. An unenforceable international treaty does not allow EPA to abandon its responsibility to regulate pollution in the United States."

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