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Europe rubber stamps new sulphur limits

[ May 17, 2012   //   ]

The European Council, Commission and European Parliament have signed a controversial agreement setting drastically reduced sulphur content in marine fuels, in line with new International Maritime Organisation (IMO) standards. It lowers maximum sulphur content in sulphur emission control areas (SECAs) including the North Sea, English Channel and Baltic Sea from 1.5% to 0.1%

from 1 January 2015. In other areas, authorised sulphur content be reduced from 4.5% to 0.5% from 1 January 2020. While the IMO has stated that it would consider postponing the new standard until 2025 if necessary, subject the the availability of suitable fuel, the EU insisted on a firm date of 2020 and ruling out any extension.

Shipping and ferry operators have warned that the new standard could lead to a severe fuel shortage and might lead to freight being diverted from sea to road transport.

The Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper) still needs to endorse the agreement.

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