Stricter limits for SO2-emissions
Shipping is regarded to be the most environmentally friendly transportation method of goods. Offshore areas, where heavy fuel oil with a high sulfur content is used as propellant, are severely polluted by SO2 – emissions.
To protect the environment, the permissible sulfur content of the propellant has been gradually reduced since 2012 and in 2020 shall only amount to 0,5 %. This was stipulated by MARPOL-Annex VI-Regulation 14 of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) which came into effect in 2005.
Since 2015 special requirements apply to ECA-zones
Dedicated Emission Control Areas (ECA)-zones were established, particularly in coastal areas where especially strict regulations regarding SO2-emissions apply:
Since January 1st 2015, vessels inside the ECA-zones must be equipped with desulphurization systems or utilize expensive fuels with a sulfur content of 0,1 % max. At present the North and Baltic Seas, as well as the coasts of North America, are defined as ECA-zones; this will apply to all European waters from the year 2020.