Imagine going to the gas station to fill your car and finding out that the price of fuel had increased 50%. Okay, you either pay or you don’t.
Now imagine a different scenario: The gas pump has a sign saying a new law requires you to use this more expensive fuel but ONLY when you drive in designated areas. However, in some of these areas the police are numerous, well-equipped and known for handing out stiff fines; in the other areas, they are almost non-existent.
Would you be tempted to buy the new expensive required fuel only when your travel took you to the heavily policed regions?
Weak enforcement a concern
The situation described above is what the shipping industry faces when new sulphur fuel regulations go into effect 1 January 2015. From that day forward, all ocean-going vessels traveling within 200 miles of North America, in the English Channel, the North Sea and the Baltic Sea must use fuel with less than 0.1% sulphur, compared to the current maximum level of 1.0%.
The “heavily policed” region represents North America, where authorities are numerous and fines are large for rule breakers. In the European and Baltic regions, the situation is very different.
“Maersk will comply with the new rule, period,” says Niels Bjorn Mortensen, Head of Regulatory Affairs for Maersk Maritime Technology and Maersk’s representative.
“What we want to ensure is that regulatory enforcement is consistent and strong enough to safeguard the environmental benefits and ensure a level playing field for all ship operators facing these rules.”