Technical Circular No.03 | 2016

Subject: China – Implementation plan for new domestic emission control areas

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  1. The Chinese government has announced that it designated the Pearl River Delta, Yangtze River Delta and Bohai Rim waters as the domestic “emission control areas (ECA)” and placed a cap on the sulphur content of fuel oil in the ECA at 0.50 percent.
  2. The regulation applies to all ships navigating, anchoring and operating in the domestic emission control areas with the exception of military ships, fishing boats and ships/boats used for sporting purposes.
  3. Following eleven ports within the Chinese domestic ECAs are designated as “key ports”;
    • Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Zhuhai in the Pearl River Delta.
    • Shanghai, Ningbo-Zhoushan, Suzhou and Nantong in the Yangtze River Delta.
    • Tianjin, Qinhuangdao, Tangshan and Huanghua in the Bohai-Rim waters.
  4. From 1 January 2016, key ports in the domestic emission control areas can require ships at berth to use fuel oils whose sulphur content does not exceed 0.50 percent.
  5. From 1 January 2017 ships calling at the eleven key ports must use fuel with a sulphur content not exceeding 0.50 percent whilst berthed. Ships must switch to compliant fuel within one hour of arriving at their berth and burn compliant fuel until one hour prior to departure. From 1 January 2018, the requirement will be extended to cover all ports in the ECAs.
  6. From 1 January 2019, ships must use fuel with a sulphur content not exceeding 0.50 percent while operating within the Chinese domestic ECAs. Any fuel change-over operation should be completed prior to the entry into or commenced after exit from an ECA.
  7. At the end of 2019, an assessment will be carried out by the Chinese authorities with a view to taking one or more of the following actions.
    • Reducing the maximum sulphur content to 0.10 percent for vessels entering the domestic ECAs.
    • Expanding the geographical size of the emission control areas.
    • Considering further control measures.
  8. The current regulation applies to emissions of sulphur oxides only and there are no requirements covering the emissions of nitrogen oxides at this stage.
  9. Alternative measures such as using shore power, clean energy and exhaust gas cleaning system will be accepted.
  10. Ship owners and operators are advised to be guided by above and given that Key ports can implement the requirements already on 1 January 2016, we recommend clarifying port requirements with the agent or port authorities in due time before arrival.

Enclosure: Nil


This Technical Circular and the material contained in it is provided only for the purpose of supplying current information to the reader and not as an advice to be relied upon by any person.
While we have taken utmost care to be as factual as possible, readers/ users are advised to verify the exact text and content of the Regulation from the original source/ issuing Authority.

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