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Emission Control Areas (ECAs) Monitoring MARPOL Annex VI

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has adopted a set of regulations for the prevention of air pollution by ships, outlined in Annex VI of the MARPOL Convention. MARPOL Annex VI sets limits on the emissions of sulphur oxides (SOx) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) (IMO, 2008) from ship exhaust gases and contains provisions for setting up special SOx Emission Control Areas (ECAs), characterised by more stringent controls on emissions.

Emission Control Areas, or ECAs, are a set of four sea areas with strict controls over ship emissions in an effort to minimise the environmental damage they cause. The controls cover the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, the Channel and most of the US and Canadian coast.

With the imminent arrival of Europe and North America’s ECA sulphur emissions limit of 0.1% in January 2015, and a global ECA in 2020, ship owners will be under significant pressure to prove compliance or else face significant fines. Burning distillate fuel is an expensive way of ensuring compliance, with the current cost estimated to be over $300 per metric tonne higher than the non-compliant Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO). An alternative to using distillates is to install scrubbers, a technology which uses sea water to neutralise the sulphur oxides in the exhaust gases. It is in the interest of the operator to ensure they are not only compliant, but have the relevant data to back up this claim.

Procal has successfully fitted emissions monitoring technology to a wide range of vessels operating in European waters. The technology employs electronic collection and reporting of data, requiring zero man-hours to obtain accurate readings. By ensuring that data is accurate and can be easily verified, third party verification costs are minimal. Modern monitoring systems, such as the Procal 2000 analyser, have the potential to enable significant fuel savings, and consequently minimal CO2 emissions, by enabling ship operators to make ‘real time’ adjustments to the way the vessel is operated. It also allows the onshore management team to monitor emissions from the vessel.

The Procal 2000 analyser uses an in-situ (inside the exhaust) sample cell, thus avoiding the need to extract gas. This avoids the use of costly, high maintenance sample handling systems and enables analysis of an unmodified, truly representative gas sample.   Exhaust gases from the combustion of residual and distillate fuels can be analysed so that compliance can be confirmed in port, in ECAs and in international waters. As regulations become increasingly stringent, this technology will provide accurate data, enabling compliance without the need for costly man-hours. As the shipping industry strives for more transparency and lower costs, emissions monitoring technology can ensure that latent savings are realised.

To find out how you can use the Procal 2000 analyser in an ECA, contact us today.

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