China reschedules ECA compliance

Shanghai skyline pollution

Chinese regional authorities in Shanghai Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces have unexpectedly brought forward the introduction of the Yangtze River Delta emissions control area (ECA) to 1 October 2018.

According to an earlier notice in September 2017, a date of 1 January 2019 had been set as the time from which, ships must burn fuel with a sulphur content not exceeding 0.5% at all times while operating inside the Yangtze river Delta ECA. Following the latest decision any fuel changeover operation should be completed prior to the entry into or begun after exit from the Yangtze River Delta ECA from the revised date.

The Gard P&I Club has made the following recommendations to its members:

To avoid any delay or penalty being incurred by the ship, owners and operators should:

Revisit bunkering strategies and fuel change-over procedures to ensure compliance with the relevant Chinese ECA requirements;

Emphasise the importance of proper logbook recordings, such as the date, time and position of the ship when any fuel change-over operation is completed, in order to demonstrate compliance;

Ensure that the quality of fuel purchased can be documented, e.g. by obtaining and retaining onboard bunker delivery notes and representative samples of the low sulphur fuel oil delivered; and

Verify the applicable ECA and port requirements at any given time with the local agent or port authorities well before arrival as local cities and relevant authorities continue to evaluate the implementation of the new regulation and the control measures to be taken.

Up to now the imposition of an ECA in the Pearl River Delta ECA and Bohai Rim waters ECAs remain scheduled for 1 January 2019. Hong Kong will join the rest of the Pearl River Delta in imposing the 0.5% sulphur limit on the same date.

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