Hefty Fine on China Navigation Company for Failure to Switch to Low-Sulphur Fuel Near California Coast

Chenan_shipViolating emissions regulations is a serious offense with heavy consequences. Maritime Executive reports that the California has fined the China Navigation Company $129,500 for failure to switch its engines over from heavy fuel oil to low-sulfur fuel while sailing close to the California coast, as required by state law.

On December 28, 2012, an Air Resources Board inspector found that the vessel Chenan, managed by the China Navigation, operated within Regulated California Waters (i.e. 24 miles or less from the coast) on noncompliant heavy fuel oil on 12 separate days (four voyages) between August 5 and December 28, 2012, while en route to and departing from the Port of Los Angeles.

Maritime Executive quotes California Air Resources Enforcement Division Todd Sax as saying that, “Ships using heavy diesel fuels are a significant contributor to California’s air quality problems, even in communities located far from our coast. […] When we identify a violation, we educate the fleet owner and crew on how to comply with our requirements, and we assess penalties as a deterrent to future noncompliance.”

China Navigation has promptly paid the fine and agreed to comply with all fuel switchover requirements and to keep accurate records going forward, says Maritime Executive.

The Air Resources Board conducts an estimated 800 to 1,000 ship inspections each year,  sampling each vessel’s fuel, and analyzing the fuel sample for compliance with fuel sulfur requirements, it explains.

Diesel exhaust contains a variety of harmful gases and over 40 other known cancer-causing compounds. In 1998, California identified diesel particulate matter as a toxic air contaminant based on its potential to cause cancer, premature death and other health problems, the publication says.

There are two ways of reducing emissions of sulphur and other harmful compounds. Ship-owners can switch to the more expensive, less available, low-sulphur fuel. Alternatively, they can use a maritime scrubber that meets compliance regulations at a fraction of the cost.

Full article at Maritime Executive. 

More on Marine Exhaust Gas Scrubbers.

Image courtesy chinanav.com