News & Announcements

New Marine Emission Standards Benefit Environment

The marine industry is well into the shift to the newest cap on sulphur oxide emissions on marine vessels. The International Marine Organization, which oversees emission regulations, estimates the new standard will reduce sulphur emissions in ships by 77 percent. The reduction is expected to produce significant health and environmental improvements, particularly for cities located closely to ports and coasts.

IMO initiated the first restrictions on sulphur oxide emissions in 2005 and has progressively tightened those standards. The organization has identified five key areas where the higher standards will have an impact.

Cleaner Air

An estimated 8.5 metric tons of sulphur oxide is expected to be removed from the air as a result of the new regulation. One study in 2016 from Finland estimated the reduction in pollutants will prevent 570,000 premature deaths worldwide between 2020 and 2025.

Improved Health

Cardiovascular, respiratory and pulmonary diseases will likely be reduced with the lowering of sulphur emissions. Acid rain, which harms crops, forests and aquatic species, will be diminished. Ocean acidification, which harms fish and crustaceans, is also expected to occur less often.

Higher Quality Fuels

Shipping companies will likely start using a better quality of fuel that is lower in sulphur. Ships are also using scrubbers to reduce sulphur oxide from engine and boiler exhaust fumes.

Lead Time

While the new regulation went into effect this year, ship operators, owners and refiners have been preparing for the change, creating benefits ahead of the January 1 deadline. Early guidance also assisted in clarifying expectations and implementation.

Enforcement Changes

Governments and national authorities of the member states will oversee the monitoring, compliance and enforcement of ships. Port states will also have rights and responsibilities to enforce compliance.

Shifting Landscape

Despite the advanced warning, shipping companies will spend the better part of this year and likely longer to fully adapt to the new emission standards. Questions remain about the capability of fuel companies to meet demand for better quality fuel.

Engine manufacturers will also be closely watching to determine where they can provide value to customers with cleaner burning engines and emission controls.