Iceland bans use of heavy fuel oil in territorial waters

Iceland’s Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources has issued a regulation tightening fuel requirements, effectively banning the use of heavy fuel oil in the country’s territorial sea.

The regulation is intended to promote improved air quality in harbours and coastal areas and conforms with the government’s coalition agreement and climate action plan.

The change is brought about by an amendment to the regulation on sulphur content of certain liquid fuels.

The permissible sulphur content of marine fuels used in the territorial sea and internal waters of Iceland will be lowered from 3.5 per cent down to 0.1 per cent on January 1, 2020. This will make requirements for the sulphur content of marine fuels in the territorial seas of Iceland comparable with those that are currently in effect in Emission Control Areas as defined by Annex VI of MARPOL, where particularly strict requirements apply.

In addition, on January 1, 2020, the permissible sulphur content of marine fuels will be lowered down to 0.5 per cent within the Icelandic Pollution Prevention Zone but outside of the territorial sea. This is in conformity with the requirements of Regulation No 124/2015 on the sulphur content on certain liquid fuels and Iceland’s international obligations according to Annex VI of the MARPOL convention which Iceland ratified in February 2018.

This will make the permissible sulphur content in marine fuels in Iceland 0.1 per cent in the territorial sea and internal waters, i.e. also in fjords and bays. Further out to sea and outside of territorial waters, the sulphur content cannot exceed 0.5 per cent.

Vessels can, however, continue to burn heavy fuel oil if they use approved emission abatement methods to reduce the release of sulphur dioxide, which prevents most sulphur emissions into the atmosphere along with soot pollution.

Baird Maritime

The best maritime site on the web. The sea's our scene!