Ships’ sulphur emissions to be cut

Countries at an International Maritime Organisation meeting in London have agreed to limit sulphur emissions from shipping, Reuters reports. The new measures, designed to reduce air and ocean pollution by sulphur dioxide, are expected to increase costs to the oil and shipping industries.  

The agreement imposes sulphur dioxide (SO2) limits of 0.1% by 2015 in special Sulphur Emission Control Areas, down from the current 1.5%. By 2010 the limits must be reduced to 1% in the protected zones.


Currently, there are only two special control areas — the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. However, European Union countries, the United States, Japan, Singapore and Australia – are expected to be declared control zones by the time the restrictions take effect.


Simon Bennett, secretary at the International Chamber of Shipping, said the targets are likely to cost industry billion of dollars to implement. The regulations also could raise the price of road transport fuels as the industry – with 50,000 ocean-going vessels — switches from heavy fuel oil to cleaner burning distillates.


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