The burning of fossil fuel releases SOx (sulphur oxides) and NOx (nitrogen oxides), as well as associated particles (PM) into the air which can have a wide variety of negative health and environmental impacts.
Regulation by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has capped the sulphur content of fuel in so-called Emission Control Areas in order to reduce emissions of SOx in these areas. From 1 January 2015, the maximum permitted sulphur content in fuel has been 0.10%. Current Emission Control Areas are the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, areas within 200 nautical miles off the US and Canadian coastlines as well as part of the Caribbean Sea. We comply fully with the stricter rules by switching to cleaner fuels.
From 2020 a global cap of 0.5% sulphur content in fuel will come into force. A.P. Moller - Maersk will comply and is collaborating to push for sound enforcement mechanisms to be employed, mostly through the Trident Alliance.