Maersk still concerned over non-compliance with 0.1% sulphur ECA

Danish shipowning giant Maersk remains concerned over the lack of enforcement of the 0.1% sulphur limit in the North Europe and Baltic emission control area (ECA).

Maersk’s head of regulatory affairs, Niels Bjorn Mortensen said the company is spending around $200 million a year on complying with ECA rules. With such costs a level playing field with companies in non-compliance remains an issue.

“Our concerns are with the enforcement of the regulation,” he told a Sustainable Shipping forum that is part of Danish Maritime Day.

“We are still not completely at ease about this,” he said.

Mortensen noted that non-compliance based on inspections according to the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) was around 6%. “We don’t think it’s good enough.”

He said they would like to see the details of non-compliance, and the seriousness of the infringements.

Inspections are also almost exclusively limited to ports leaving questions as to what vessels are doing when out on the open sea.

“The inspection as we know are limited to ports, there are no real inspections outside ports.

“One of my good friends from the Trident Alliance said all ships will comply when they are in port like there are very few burglaries in police stations,” Mortensen quipped.

“They may not be so representative – we don’t what is going on between the ports.”

As to how to monitor emissions on the open seas he said, “there are no easy solutions yet”.

Mortensen also questioned the levels of fines for non-compliance given that an errant owner could save as much as $90,000 – $100,000 per voyage per ship by evading ECA regulations. “Penalaties for non-compliance are all over the place, but down to as little as EUR1,500.” 

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