"Some Flexibility" in Start of California Shore-Power Rules

Thursday December 26, 2013

In a Monday statement, California regulators officially confirmed that vessels that have tried to comply with new shore power rules will not be penalised if they are unable to do so because of problems outside of their control.

"While the January 1, 2014 compliance date remains unchanged, ARB will recognize a fleet's good faith efforts to comply with the requirements during a transition period," the California Air Resources Board (CARB) said in the statement.

The statement follows CARB's November comments to Ship & Bunker that vessels that "have tried their best to comply" with the regulation should not have to worry about major penalties.

In Monday's statement, the board said California ports, terminals, and most vessels have made "substantial investments" in new equipment and practices that will allow ships at berth, to use power from shore-side equipment rather than running their engines, but in some cases the infrastructure is not ready to meet the January 1 deadline for adopting cold ironing.

"These vessel fleets need some flexibility during the transition period from January
1- June 30, 2014, to implement the new practices," CARB said.

"The overall goal of this action is to recognize good faith compliance efforts while ensuring that emissions reductions required by the Regulation are achieved in a timely manner to provide critical public health benefits for communities near ports."

Vessels can be exempted from penalties if a berth is not yet ready to provide shore power, if they have faced delays in receiving shore power equipment from manufacturers, if they are using an alternative technology on a test basis, or in other scenarios related to delays in commissioning and implementation.

However, CARB said ship operators facing some other challenges to compliance, such as labour issues and the need for shore-power-equipped charter vessels, will not receive the same consideration.