Early introduction of low sulphur requirement in Shenzhen
The Port of Shenzhen, China is planning to introduce a requirement for ships to use fuels with no more than 0.50% while at berth from 1 October 2016, ahead of other key ports in the Pearl River Delta. Other ports in the Pearl River Delta are due to implement the requirement on 1 January, 2017 in line with Chinese government plans.
The decision, taken by local authorities, is due to be formally announced by the Shenzhen Maritime Safety Administration (MSA Shenzhen) soon, according to a circular from Huatai Insurance Agency & Consultant Service, which advises P&I Clubs, H&M insurers and shipping companies on developments in China.
Chinese authorities have unilaterally decided to introduce domestic emission control areas (ECAs) in three coastal regions, requiring ships to use fuels with no more than 0.50% sulphur, initially at berth and then from January 1, 2019 while operating within the designated ECAs. The three areas are the Pearl River Delta, the Yangtze River Delta and Bohai-rim waters.
11 key ports were identified within these three ECAs where the low sulphur requirement would take effect from 1 January 2017. From 1 January 2018 the requirement will be extended to all ports located within the ECAs.
A provision allowed the 11 key ports to enforce the regulation before 1 January 2017 on a voluntary basis, which is what Shenzhen now look set to do, in line with key ports in the Yangtze River Delta ECA.
The 0.50% sulphur at berth limit became effective for ships at berth in key ports in the Yangtze River Delta ECA on 1 April 2016. The ports are Shanghai, Ningbo-Zhoushan, Suzhou, and Nantong.
Under the Chinese requirement, ships must switch to compliant fuel within one hour of arriving at berth and continue to use it until not more than one hour prior to departure.
As an alternative to using low sulphur fuels, ships can plug into shore power where available. Shenzhen is said to have 10 berths with shore power facilities
Towards the end of 2019, the Chinese government is scheduled to determine if the fuel sulphur limit in its domestic ECAs should be reduced to 0.10%. This would bring the Chinese ECA requirements into line with MARPOL Annex VI, the International Maritime Organization regulation.