29 Juni 2014

[290614.EN.SEA] Minister Denounces Shipowners For Low-sulphur Compliance Slowdown

BRITISH Shipping Minister Stephen Hammond publicly denounced the UK Chamber of Shipping for trying to delay implementation of the low-sulphur fuel requirements, reports Lloyd's List.

British shipowners are seeking to delay the January 1 enforcement of European low-sulphur fuel rules.

Scrubber technology has only recently been considered suitable, but it will take time to install on all ships trading in Europe's sulphur emissions control area, says the chamber.

The challenges faced by shipowners were raised by several members of parliament during a debate on Wednesday.

Mr Hammond said he was disappointed the UK Chamber of Shipping continues to react "as if the sulphur limits are inherently undesirable and that the "government should have avoided them".

Mr Hammond claimed that the regulations are about protection of health and protection of the environment and added that the government has "pushed back to try to change the time scales".

The UK Chamber of Shipping has written to Prime Minister David Cameron setting out industry concerns about meeting the January 2015 deadline, and explaining why shipowners need transitional flexibility.

The Chamber said Mr Hammond had not responded to its central message that a more pragmatic approach by the European Union on implementation would protect jobs and be better environmentally.

Only now has scrubber technology become available, leaving insufficient time for companies to comply with the new rules in the absence of the availability of low-sulphur fuel," said chamber CEO Guy Platten.

"But the sharp increase in demand for low-sulphur fuel will see a massive spike in costs both for shipowners and potentially for ordinary diesel car users - so we need to use the new technology instead," he said.

"But that technology is only now beginning to work, and could take up to two years to fit properly to all of our ships.

Said Mr Hammond: "I recognise that significant capital is required and the department is exploring the scope for securing EU finance under the trans-European network programme and affordable capital for European shipowners and ports that want to benefit from investment in that green technology."

Source : HKSG.

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