Ships operating in New Zealand might soon be liable to tough new rules on air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. International shipping is responsible for about 2.5 per cent of global greenhouse gases, but is not covered by the Paris Agreement. New Zealand is one of the few countries without restrictions on air pollution from ships.
However, the Ministry of Transport is now calling for submissions on whether the country should sign up to air pollution provisions of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (known as the Marpol Convention).
“The benefits of signing up to Annex VI include reduced carbon emissions and improved air quality around our ports,” said MOT international connections manager Tom Forster. “It would align our maritime regulations with our trading partners, and give investment certainty to domestic ship owners and fuel suppliers.”
If the provisions come in, domestic and international ships in New Zealand waters will be restricted to using fuels with a sulphur content of less than 3.5 per cent. The sulphur restriction is expected to drop to 0.5 per cent in 2020.
Forster says that marine fuel produced in New Zealand has a sulphur content of less than 3.5 per cent. “The vast majority of our domestic ships use diesel fuel which complies to both standards – the ships directly impacted will be ferries, and large trading and fishing vessels,” he said. Submissions close in February.