8 month transitional period in EU regulations on low sulphur fuel in European ports
With reference to the EU Directive 2005/33/EC effective on January 1st, 2010, whereby ships at berth in European Union community ports shall use only marine fuels with maximum 0.1% sulphur content, the European Commission accepted on 21 December 2009 accepted "Commission Recommendation on the safe implementation of the use of low sulphur fuel by ships at berth in Community ports" to grant an eight-month transitional period to ships which have not yet made the necessary technical modifications to facilitate consumption of such fuels.
The complete announcement of the European Union is available here.
The transitional period is subject to the following conditions:
1. As part of the Member States enforcement actions against ships which fail to comply with the requirement to use fuels with a maximum permitted sulphur content of 0.1 % while at berth, Member States should request those ships to provide detailed evidence of the steps they are taking to achieve compliance.
This evidence should include:
(a) contract with a manufacturer, and
(b) a retrofit plan approved by the ship's classification society or, for ships flying the flag of a Member State, by an organisation recognised under Regulation (EC) 391/2009 of the European Parliament and the Council.
The retrofit plan should clearly specify the completion date of the adaptation and the date of follow-up survey carried out by classification society/recognized organisation.
2. Member States may consider the existence of an approved retrofit plan when assessing the degree of penalties to be applied to non-complying ships.
3. Member States should take appropriate measures to raise awareness among owners, operators and seafarers of the safety risk related to fuel changeover if no necessary technical adaptation has been made to the ship's fuel system and recommended the necessary training to be provided.
4. Ship operators should further note that Member States will take the Commission's condition into consideration, however, from a legal point of view, it remains only a recommendation and individual Member States may decide not to follow it.
5. Finally, the documentation required to benefit from the transitional period has to be provided to PSC inspectors by shipowners.