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New sulphur limits pass first hurdle

[ February 20, 2012   //   ]

The European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment adopted its first-reading report on revision of new sulphur limits for shipping fuels, despite the opposition of the industry and some MPs. The measure now needs to be adopted at the Parliament’s plenary session, expected in late May. Under the proposals, existing sulphur limits would be lowered from 3.5% to 0.5% by 2015 (five years sooner than under the IMO standard) and to 0.1% by 2020, which would be stricter than the IMO. Fuels used in member states’ territorial waters (12 nautical miles) should not exceed the limit of 0.1% from 2015 and would be comparable to the IMO level for areas requiring special protection (SECAs – sulphur emission control areas), which in Europe are the North Sea, the Channel and the Baltic. However, the Parliament’s proposed limit would apply more widely in the EU. However, many MEPs complained that the move would load extra costs on the shipping industry.