Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Two Ocean Carriers, LMC Fined By Calif. Air Regulators

California state air regulators have handed out more than $160,000 in fines over the past two weeks to three transportation-related firms for violations of state environmental laws.

Last week, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) fined two shipping lines for incidents in 2010 where one vessel from each carrier failed to switch from bunker fuel to cleaner-burning, low-sulfur fuel while sailing within 24 miles of the California coast, as required by state law.

The Switzerland-based Mediterranean Shipping Company and Poland-based Chipolbrok Shipping Company were each fined $53,000 by CARB. The November, 2010 violations involve calls at the Port of Long Beach by the MSC Aniello and Chipolbrok's vessel Wieniawski. According to CARB, both vessels used the more polluting bunker fuel "well within the 24-mile limit from the coast" where state law mandates the use of low-sulfur fuel by ocean going vessels.

CARB said that the low-sulfur fuel measure, adopted in 2008, eliminates 15 tons of diesel exhaust daily from ocean-going vessels, and the agency considers the measure "a vital tool in helping to reduce premature deaths and the risk of cancer associated with air pollution in the state’s busy ports and trade corridors."

As part of their settlements with ARB, MSC and Chipolbrok each agreed to pay their fines to the California Air Pollution Control Fund to support air quality research. The two firms must also follow all fuel switchover requirements, and maintain accurate records.

"Cargo vessels can burn some of the dirtiest fuels on the planet and we need to make sure that their engine emissions don't reach our coast," ARB Enforcement Chief James Ryden said in announcing the fines.

"Our fuel regulation is vitally important because it requires shippers to switch to cleaner-burning fuels that help fight air pollution in our coastal regions and port communities."

On August 29, CARB also announced a $59,050 fine against Ontario, Calif.-based motor carrier IVVE Transportation for dispatching trucks not compliant with the emission standards set forth in ARB’s Drayage Truck Regulation.

The regulations, adopted in December 2007 to cut diesel emissions by port-servicing drayage trucks, prohibit the use of pre-1994 model year trucks from servicing ports or rail facilities. The regulations also require 1995 to 2006 trucks to be retrofit with diesel exhaust filters. The regulation also requires that by 2014 all vehciles used in drayage must be 2007 or newer models.

Under the settlement with IVVE Transportation, $44,287.50 of the firm's fine will go to the California Air Pollution Control fund to support air quality research, and $14,762.50 to the Peralta Community College district to help fund diesel education classes around the state. The motor carrier also agreed to cease operating non-compliant vehicles.

"It is especially important for companies involved in moving freight to use the cleanest engines they can afford since they spend so much time on our roads and highways," ARB’s Ryden said.

"We commend businesses that acknowledge their mistakes and then move in the right direction, such as IVVE Transportation. We have to make clean air a priority and that can only happen when businesses do whatever it takes to follow clean air regulations."