Hong Kong port gets tough on black smoke from ships

Hong Kong’s Marine Department has notified of changes to make the control of black smoke emissions from ships in Hong Kong waters stricter.

“Legislative amendments to the Shipping and Port Control Ordinance (Cap. 313) and the Merchant Shipping (Local Vessels) Ordinance (Cap. 548) to enhance the control of dark smoke emission from vessels have been gazetted on 18 July 2014 and come into immediate effect,” it said in a notice to mariners.

Dark smoke is defined as “dark as or darker than, Shade 2 on the Ringelmann Chart for 3 minutes or more continuously at any one time”.

Penalties are a fine of HKD25,000 (USD3,225) for a first conviction, and a fine of HKD50,000 for any subsequent conviction.

Pollutuion has been a major issue in Hong Kong in recent years, however, it is unclear how enforcement will take place in a port with some 400,000 vessel movements a year.