Australian State Promises 0.10% Sulfur Cap for Cruise Ships

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Wednesday March 11, 2015

The regional government in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, has promised to place a sulfur cap on marine fuel for cruise ships at berth in its ports, local media reports.

The state, which includes Sydney, currently allows ships to burn bunkers with up to 3.5 percent sulfur content by weight, but it is understood that would reduce to 0.10 percent in line with Emissions Control Area (ECA) rules.

The proposals come from the incumbent NSW Government as part of its bid to retain power in next year's July regional elections.

"There is no reason why the people of NSW should not enjoy the same standards as those enjoyed by people in North America and Europe," said NSW Environment Minister Rob Stokes.

As Ship & Bunker reported last month, the report noted that local residents near the Balmain, Sydney, terminal have complained of health problems since large cruise ships began docking at the new terminal in 2013.

No shore power facilities are available at the terminal.

"Until the regulations come into force, a re-elected Baird government will work with the industry to mitigate impacts on effected communities through seeking to minimise the time that ships using high-sulphur fuel spend in port," said Stokes.

The country's biggest cruise operator, Carnival Australia, is said to have expressed doubts about the availability of sufficient ultra-low sulfur fuel in Australia.

But oil company Caltex Australia said it was "widely available in Australia and any increased demand for it would be easily met."

"So availability is not an issue."

This month, Hong Kong said it would continue to offer reduced port fees to shippers using low sulfur fuel while at berth, despite new rules mandating its use.