Friday, August 16, 2013

Shippers Fined for Violating Fuel Regulation

Three international shipping companies have been fined a combined $440,250 for failing to switch from bunker fuel to cleaner, low-sulfur marine distillate fuel upon entering regulated waters as required by California law, a state regulatory agency said August 12.

According to the California Air Resources Board, an investigation showed that on 17 visits to California ports between Nov. 6, 2009 and July 18, 2011, the vessel Hoegh Inchon operated its main engines within regulated California waters on bunker fuel, the dirtier fuel oil that contributes to onshore pollution levels of diesel particulate matter, sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides.

The vessel’s parent company, Oslo, Norway-based Hoegh Autoliners Shipping AS, was fined $299,500.

In February 2013, prior to docking at the ports of Stockton and Long Beach, the Ikan Bawal was cited for failing to switch its engines over to the required cleaner fuel while operating within California waters. Its owner, NCN Corporation Panama, was fined $87,750.

In August 2012, after it docked at the Port of Los Angeles, the vessel K-Pluto was also cited for failing to switch to the required cleaner fuel while operating within state waters. Its parent company, Singapore-based Twin Phoenix Shipping SA, was fined $53,000.

The Air Board says all three companies complied with the investigation and agreed to abide by all pertinent regulations in the future, follow fuel switchover requirements and keep accurate records.

“Ships en route to California ports emit thousands of tons of diesel exhaust each year,” ARB Enforcement Chief Jim Ryden said in an August 12 statement. “Our regulation requiring ocean-going vessels to switch to cleaner fuel within 24 nautical miles of our shoreline protects all California residents, especially those in port communities, from this air pollution.”

The ARB’s Ocean-Going Vessel Regulation was adopted in 2008. The Air Board estimates that the compliance rate is around 95 percent and that it eliminates 15 tons of diesel particulate matter daily from ocean-going vessels’ exhaust.

The says it ARB conducts more than 500 ship inspections each year, checking for proper fuel usage, record-keeping and other compliance requirements, and takes marine gas oil or marine diesel oil samples for submission to the ARB laboratory to ensure they meet California standards for sulfur.