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Uncertainty over enforcement of EC Sulphur Directive, says ECSA

Uncertainty over enforcement of EC Sulphur Directive, says ECSA
“There is no clear idea” as to how the European Commission’s Sulphur Directive would be enforced, says Patrick Verhoeven, secretary general of the European Community Shipowners’ Association (ECSA).

The EC directive will reduce the sulphur content of bunker fuel to 0.1% in the North European Emission Control Area (ECA).

In a panel discussion organised in conjunction with Hamburg Messe ahead of the SMM convention, Verhoeven suggested that although the Sulphur Directive, due to enter force in 2015, would stipulate for the monitoring of its economic impact on shipping, and “corrective measures” in the event of serious problems occurring, “we’re not quite sure what those measures are”.

Verhoeven was asked about the recent comments from Carsten Mortensen, head of the Danish Shipowners’ Association, that ships could continue on sulphur fuel “at virtually no risk” and face fines which are less than the potential savings, “some shipowners will find it hard to resist temptation”.
 Maersk Line also recently called for effective enforcement of low sulphur fuel regulations in North Europe to ensure a level playing field.

Verhoeven indicated that the current regulations allowed presented a clear risk of avoidance. “We do not support that position,” he said. "We are in favour of a level playing field."

However, “There is no clear idea of how the European Nations are going to enforce these measures. How are they going to do that, how much they are going to fine - these are still open questions.”

The directive has drawn much criticism from the industry recently, with some fearing cargo will be forced onto roads, and emissions increased, as a result of the increase in freight rates.