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U.S. Proposal to Cut International Ship Emissions Finds Key Support

Release Date: 06/28/2007
Contact Information: John Millett, (202) 564-4355 / millett.john@epa.gov

(Washington, D.C. - June 28, 2007) Federal partners and the World Shipping Council announced today their support of the United States' proposal to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) seeking more stringent emission limits for ocean-going ships. The IMO is the primary international body governing the shipping industry on safety, security and environmental matters.

"The U.S. proposal would reduce harmful ship emissions, while ensuring the efficiency of marine transportation worldwide," Bob Meyers, acting assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation. "The World Shipping Council's support makes it an industry leader in working to provide clean air to people who live, work and play in or near the world's coasts and waterways."

The U.S. proposal, submitted to IMO earlier this year, is a series of amendments to Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). The proposal would dramatically reduce air pollution from ships by establishing a new tier of performance-based standards for marine diesel engines on all vessels. It will also establish stringent emission requirements for ships that operate in coastal areas where air quality problems are acute.

The U.S. proposal consists of:

  • Stringent new PM and SOx limits that would apply beginning in 2011/12 to all ships that operate in specific areas defined under the treaty.
  • Tier 2 NOx limits for new Category 3 propulsion engines (cylinder displacement greater than 30 liters) beginning in 2011 that would achieve a 15 to 25 percent NOx reduction.
  • Tier 3 NOx limits for new Category 3 propulsion engines beginning in 2016 that would apply when ships are operating in the PM/SOx geographic areas and that would require the use of high efficiency catalytic aftertreatment emission control technology capable of achieving NOx reductions of more than 80 percent.
  • NOx limits for existing engines (those built before Jan. 1, 2000) that would achieve a 20 percent NOx reduction; these standards would phase-in beginning 2010/2012.

The Marine Environment Protection Committee of IMO will meet July 9-13 in London to continue negotiations for these important amendments. Negotiations are expected to be completed in 2008.

For more information: epa.gov/otaq/oceanvessels.htm