New rules to regulate ship emissions

by Array

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia—The federal government took steps today to synch Canadian environmental policy regarding ship emissions with that of the United States.

Minister of transport, Denis Lebel, made the announcement today, saying the move made sense.

“Since vessels from Canada and the United States routinely travel in both countries’ waters, aligning our regulations is the logical thing to do.”

Officially the changes being proposed fall under the Regulations Amending the Vessel Pollution and Dangerous Chemicals Regulations. The new regulations would follow the standards set out under Annex VI of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).

The changes would apply to all vessels operating in Canadian territory and waters, the country’s exclusive economic zone (an area of the sea adjacent to and beyond the territorial sea, extending out to 200 nautical miles from the baselines) and to all Canadian ships operating around the world.

The purpose of the new measures is to “prevent deliberate, negligent and accidental discharge of vessel-source pollutants”. The main changes are:

  • The adoption of air emissions standards known as the North American Emission Control Area, which the US already employs. The new standards are expected to reduce sulphur oxide emissions by 96 percent and nitrogen oxides by 80 percent.
  • Using new efficiency standards which are designed to make new vessels 30 percent more energy efficient by 2020. Older vessels will also be required to have energy efficiency plans.
  • The creation of a new air emissions regime for Canadian vessels sailing the Great Lakes and the St Lawrence Seaway that will implement strict sulphur oxide controls by 2020.
  • The requirement that marine diesel engines installed after January 1, 2016 be certified to recognize US or international environmental standards.
  • A new rule on greywater discharge which states there must be no release of solids and nothing released that will cause a sheen on the water.
  • An updated standard on how oil is transferred between tankers. This standard will be in alignment with IMO pollution prevention rules.

In addition to the new federal rules, Canadian shipowners whose vessels operate in the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence are facing changes proposed by the US EPA.