The Ports and Yachting Directorate issued Port Notice Number 08/20 of 2020 entitled ‘Sulphur Content in Marine Fuels’, whereby attention was drawn to the provisions of the Quality of Fuels Regulations (S.L. 545.18). These regulations transposed the requirements of various EU directives regulating the quality of marine fuels that must be abided by all ships when calling in Maltese Ports and when traversing within Maltese internal and territorial waters.
The Port notice laid out a number of exemptions to the maximum sulphur (SOx) content to be used in marine fuels, noting that, amongst others, these limits were not applicable to fuels used by: war ships, ships in the process of securing the safety of a ship or saving lives at sea, ships that have been damaged where the owners or master have not acted with intent or recklessly, ships at berth for less than two hours using shore side electricity or ships using approved emission abatement methods. Exempted ships are to notify the Authority and REWS before entering Maltese territorial waters.
By means of the Port Notice, the Authority and REWS also notify its recipients that the trials of ship emission abatement methods may be approved. During these trials the use of marine fuels meeting the maximum SOx content shall not be mandatory subject to a number of conditions, including notifying the European Commission, the Authority and REWS in writing 6 months before the trial begins, having a maximum trial period of 18 months, having a proper waste management systems in place and conducting continuous environmental impact assessments in enclosed ports and harbours . Non-compliance with the conditions can result in enforcement action being taken against the vessel, including detention until such time as any non-compliance has been rectified or resolved.
The full port notice can accessed by clicking here.
by Dr Martina Farrugia, Fenech & Fenech Advocates