CARB fine follows failure to switch fuels

Written by Nick Blenkey
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MARCH 7, 2016 — A Swire Group unit, the China Navigation Co. Pte. Ltd., has been fined $129,500 by the California Air Resources Board for failure by the 25,554 dwt general cargo ship Chenan to switch its engines over from heavy diesel bunker fuel to cleaner, low-sulfur fuel when close to the California coast, as required by state law.

On December 28, 2012, an ARB inspector found that the vessel Chenan, managed by the China Navigation Co. Pte. Ltd., operated within Regulated California Waters (i.e. 24 miles or less from the coast) on noncompliant heavy fuel oil on 12 separate days (four voyages) between August 5 and December 28, 2012, while en route to and departing from the Port of Los Angeles.

The China Navigation Co. is the wholly-owned deep-sea shipowning and operating arm of the Swire Group. The Chenan is beneficially owned by the Swire Group.

“Ships using heavy diesel fuels are a significant contributor to California’s air quality problems, even in communities located far from our coast” said ARB Enforcement Division Chief Todd Sax. “That’s why we check vessels nearly every day to ensure that they are compliant with our strict clean air laws. When we identify a violation, we educate the fleet owner and crew on how to comply with our requirements, and we assess penalties as a deterrent to future noncompliance.”

The ARB says China Navigation Co. Pte. Ltd. took prompt action after being notified of these violations and cooperated with the investigation. In addition to paying a fine, the company agreed to comply with all fuel switchover requirements and to keep accurate records going forward.

The ARB conducts an estimated 800 to 1,000 ship inspections each year, checking for proper fuel usage, record-keeping and other compliance requirements. Part of the inspection involves sampling each vessel’s fuel, and analyzing the fuel sample for compliance with ARB fuel sulfur requirements.

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