October 11, 2010
U.S. Caribbean ECA proposal moves along
IMO's Marine Environmental Protection Committee has approved a proposal for a U.S. Caribbean Emission Control Area.
The area of the proposed U.S. Caribbean ECA includes waters adjacent to coasts of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Under IMO's procedures, the next step is that the MEPC will now consider the proposal for adoption at its next session, MEPC 62, scheduled for summer 2011. Given the MARPOL amendment process and the lead time specified in the regulations, an ECA adopted at MEPC 62 could enter into force as early as 2014.
Currently, there are two designated ECAs under Annex VI of the MARPOL convention, the Baltic Sea area and the North Sea area, while a third area, the North American ECA, was adopted in March 2010, with expected entry into force in August 2011.
Beginning in 2015, fuel used by all vessels operating in these areas cannot exceed 0.1 percent fuel sulfur (1,000 ppm). This requirement is expected to reduce PM and SOx emissions by more than 85 percent.
Beginning in 2016, new engines on vessels operating in these areas must use emission controls that achieve an 80 percent reduction in NOx emissions.