Hong Kong Could Mandate Low-Sulfur Fuel This Year

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Thursday March 7, 2013

Plans for Hong Kong to require ocean-going vessels to use low-sulfur fuel while at berth in the nation's waters are moving forward, with the Environment Protection Department announcing plans to submit legislation to the Legislative Council, Platts reports.

The law is proposed go into effect in the next legislative year starting in October 2013, and could make the maximum sulfur content of fuel used at berth 0.1 percent.

Presently, ships can use a fuel with a maximum sulfur content of 3.5 percent but typically use ISO 8217:2005 standard 1.5 percent maximum sulfur marine gasoil (MGO) or 2 percent maximum sulfur marine diesel oil (MDO).

The department is collecting comments on the new rules from the industry until April 8, 2013.

The nation currently has voluntary schemes in place to encourage the use of low-sulfur fuel at its ports, but some shipping companies have argued that participating is too expensive and puts them at a disadvantage compared with vessels that do not make the switch.

A recent report by public policy think tank Civic Exchange found that, if the cruise ships visiting Hong Kong in 2012 switched to fuel with a 0.5 percent maximum sulfur content, it would reduce sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions by 71 percent and drop PM10 particulate matter emissions by 63 percent.