SECA - one year later

Jun 17 2016

SECA - one year later

The latest Baltic Ports Organization (BPO) report on “EU Sulphur Directive – one year after its entry into force” examines the impact, the SECA regulation had on the shipping sector in the Baltic region. It provides valuable information concerning annual achievements in the process of implementing the 0.1 sulphur limits in marine fuel, with a special focus on compliance methods employed by shipowners.

The usage of distillate fuels is currently regarded as the easiest compliance method, both from a technical and financial point of view (86% of the SECA vessels use distillates). LNG and scrubbers are considered secondary solutions. Approximately 160 vessels have been equipped with scrubbers worldwide, 83 of them cruising the European SECA. 69 of these vessels being part of the ro-ro and ferry fleet (43.1%), making it the key target for implementing the scrubber technology.

A radical drop in the oil prices in 2015 and the following changes to the bunkering market made the distillates attractive to shipping operators. The costs of bunkering, after switching to MDO, did not increase during the first year of SECA implementation. The report examines the structures and level of Sulphur surcharge levels, implemented by shipping lines operating in the Baltic SECA.

Additionally, the report provides a brief rundown of the actions undertaken by the EU Member States, with the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) as a coordinating body, in terms of controlling the vessels sailing the Baltic SECA as well as other EU seas. Rather high level of compliance was noticed during the first 12 months of implementing the 0.1 sulphur limits in marine fuel. The majority of non-compliance cases is associated with erroneous entries in ship log books, regarding fuel changeover procedures as well as bunker delivery notes. However, a quite significant part of non-compliance results is associated with fuel used by ship operators.

The North and Baltic Seas are some of world’s busiest shipping areas. The implementation of the SECA regulation was a complex process in need of careful analysis. The report, composed by dr Maciej Matczak and Monika Rozmarynowska-Mrozek, adds to the line of expert studies published by the BPO over the years, serving as a go-to source of insight on a topic vital to the development of the Baltic market.

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