New South Wales EPA release sulphur consultation
On 2 June 2015 the NSW parliament released a consultation draft of new regulations which will mandate the use of low sulphur fuel (0.1% or less) by all cruise ships berthing in Sydney Harbour after 1 October 2015 and in all NSW ports after 1 July 2016, Holding Redlich writes in an update.
“The requirement for all cruise ships to use low sulphur fuel in Sydney Harbour from 1 October 2015 will apply to the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Darling Harbour and the White Bay Cruise Terminal, Sydney’s two main cruise terminals.
“The draft regulations introduce an offence if any of the engines of a ship use fuel other than low sulphur fuel during berthing operations, for which the Master and Owner are held liable and may be penalised up to $22,000 in the case of the Master and $44,000 in the case of Owners. Limited exemptions to the use of low sulphur fuel are provided. However, they do not accommodate ordinary commercial operational constraints and will only apply in exceptional and unexpected circumstances,” the law firm says.
“Obligations are also imposed on vessel Owners in relation to keeping log books and other records relating to the use of fuel within the regulated ports. The regulations also provide that the relevant authority can approve alternative methods for cruise ships to achieve low sulphur emissions, other than the use of low sulphur fuel. Such methods may include the use of scrubber technology and similar measures, although there has not yet been any confirmation on this or any draft approved methods released.
“Obligations are also imposed on those supplying low sulphur fuel to vessels in Sydney Harbour (as of 1 October 2015) and all NSW ports (as of 1 July 2016), to provide a bunker delivery note that complies with Annexes V and VI of MARPOL and a fuel sample sealed and signed by the Master and a representative of the bunker supplier.” Any submissions on the draft regulations must be received by 12pm on Monday, 15 June 2015. Industry concerns include the physical ability and costs to conduct any necessary vessel modifications by the 1 October 2015 deadline and the potential lack of availability of low sulphur fuel, Holding Redlich explains.
“Cruise vessel operators berthing in NSW will need to ensure that their vessels are low sulphur fuel compliant, starting from 1 October 2015 for any vessel calls in Sydney Harbour. Measures for the supply of low sulphur fuel will need to be put in place prior to the implementation of the new regulations. “Bunker suppliers will need to review their bunker delivery documentation to ensure that it complies with Annexes V and VI of MARPOL and that the new fuel sampling requirements are complied with.”