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Enforcement of 0.1% sulphur limit remains a top issue for Danish shipping

Enforcement of 0.1% sulphur limit remains a top issue for Danish shipping
Issues around effective enforcement of 0.1% sulphur limits in the Baltic and North Seas remain high on the agenda in Denmark as the clock ticks down to the regulation coming into force on 1 January 2015.

Shipowning giant AP Moller – Maersk reiterated its concern over enforcement and ensuring that there is a level playing field, at a conference in Copenhagen.

“At the end of the day it’s all about ensuring a level playing field,” Niels Bjorn Mortensen, director of Regulatory Affairs for AP Moller – Maersk, said.

However, he explained that there were some potentially large financial advantages in risking non-compliance. “It’s all about the money, and there’s really big money at stake,” Mortensen stated.

He gave the example of an aframax tanker sailing from the start of the English channel, loading a cargo of crude oil in the port of Primorsk, Russia and back it could save $120,000 - $150,000 by not complying with ECA regulations. With Primorsk exporting the equivalent of 500 aframax cargoes a year, single tanker could make 10 voyages a year. “Someone could be very easily be tempted by these amounts. That is one of our concerns it is so easy to do.”

He also highlighted legal issues relating to enforcement. “There are some legal uncertainties still…some Northern European states are not sure they can issue fines for non-compliance of the ECA outside their waters. Maybe they can only issue fines for the last 12 miles which are their waters.”

Mortensen was not alone in his concerns about how easy it was to get around the rules. “It is a concern it is maybe too easy to cheat,” commented DFDS director of environment and sustainability director Poul Woodall. The company’s trading network is 95% with in the ECA zones and it is investing EUR100m to fit 40% of its fleet with scrubbers.

The Danish Ecological Council, agreed with shipowners on this point and senior advisor Kaare Press-Kristensen said: “Enforcement in our point of view is key to an efficient regulation. Enforcement needs to consist of efficient control and punishment. We need to get rid the free riders, if we do not shipowners will not be able to pass on the cost of environmental regulation to their customers."

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