UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (UAE): POLLUTION FINES IN FUJAIRAH
Published: 10 January 2022
In just a three week period the Club has recently encountered three separate allegations of pollution against entered vessels when within the harbour limits of the port of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates.
The port of Fujairah enforces strict adherence to its anti-pollution legislation, details of which are available in its Notices to Mariners. The types of pollution which are subject to enforcement action at the port are detailed in the following Notices to Mariners:
Notice to Mariner No. 301: Control of smoke emissions by vessels in the port of Fujairah and Fujairah Offshore Anchorage Area (FOAA).
Notice to Mariner No. 246: Prohibition on grit and hydroblasting of a ship’s hull in the FOAA. See also Notice to Mariner No. 148, v6, section 42 C, which expands this prohibition to the deck and also to painting.
Notice to Mariner No. 210: Domestic garbage – disposing procedure.
Notice to Mariner No. 188: Restriction on soot blowing in the port of Fujairah and the FOAA. Although this Notice is referred to in Notice 301, issued on 14 September 2021, there is no copy of this Notice available on the port’s website. However, there is reference to the restriction in Notice to Mariner No. 148, v6, section 42 F.
Notice to Mariner No. 148, v6: Port information and regulations for vessels calling at the port of Fujairah, oil terminals, SPMs and anchorage area, section 42, protection of the marine environment, addressing the following areas:
- Prohibited STS operations off port limits
- Ballast water management
- Grit and hydroblasting ship’s sides and painting
- Propeller polishing using solvents
- Exhaust gas cleaning system (EGC)
- Carbon soot blowing of boiler/economizer
- Ban on open-loop scrubber
- Carbon soot discharge in Fujairah waters.
Section 45 details further restrictions with hold and hatch cleaning in the FOAA being strictly prohibited. Furthermore, underwater hull cleaning is only permitted with prior permission, and no cleaning of the hull above the waterline is permitted apart from cleaning of oil staining with prior permission by approved oil spill response companies.
In two of the cases experienced by entered vessels soot ended up in the water via the vessels’ Inert Gas (IG) systems. In the first case a tanker was moored to a single buoy discharging cargo when a fault developed with the boiler, leading to poor combustion and excessive black smoke being seen issuing from the funnel. The boiler’s exhaust gases, which were being fed into the IG system, were cooled and washed in the scrubber tower and the excessive soot discharged overboard in the cooling/wash water. The vessel was fined a total of AED 235,560 (approximately USD 64,000).
In the second case a tanker was alongside in the port discharging a parcel of Naphtha when soot was spotted in the water by the harbour authorities just prior to the completion of cargo operations. The vessel was fitted with a marine diesel oil fired inert gas generator (IGG) with the inert gas cooled and washed prior to use. No abnormalities had been noted with the IGG and no alarms had been activated while it was in use during cargo discharge. Initial investigations indicated that there may have been a soot build-up in the combustion chamber of the IGG. This was due to the sub-optimum operation of the burner unit caused by an electrical fault affecting the operation of the flaps regulating the air intake, with the excess soot being discharged overboard with the cooling/wash water. In this case the vessel was fined a total of AED 207,680 (approximately USD 56,500).
In the third case a tanker had arrived in ballast and anchored in the FOAA to take bunkers and provisions. Members of the crew on the deck had seen patches of oil on the surface of the water drifting towards the vessel, although this was prior to bunkering commencing. These small oil slicks were also spotted by a coast guard patrol boat. Although the vessel was not responsible for the oil in the water, which had emanated from elsewhere, the vessel’s situation was complicated by the presence of oil staining on the hull. Traces of oil were present between the 4m and 6m draught marks and two separate oil stains, approximately 3m x 1m, were present on the port quarter, aft of the accommodation, where it appeared that fuel oil had escaped through the deck scuppers. The fuel oil staining around the deck scuppers was recent, although unlikely to have occurred during the port call in question as it did not reach the waterline and ended abruptly several metres above it, indicating the vessel was loaded at the time of the incident. The stains appeared to have been caused by an overflow from the port bunker tank vent during a recent internal fuel oil transfer. In this case the harbour master was satisfied with the master’s explanation as to what had occurred and, as it had not happened in UAE waters, no fine or penalty was imposed. However, the specialist cleaning of the staining, required to prevent any pollution in the anchorage, was a costly exercise at USD 42,000.
Where imposed, fines are non-negotiable and have to be settled by the local agent prior to the vessel being given clearance to sail. Letters of Undertaking are not accepted by the harbour master.
Members with vessel’s calling at the port of Fujairah are urged to ensure that the crew are aware of the various anti-pollution requirements applicable in the port and the FOAA, and that these are rigorously enforced with coast guard vessels conducting regular patrols looking for infringements.
Members requiring any further assistance on this matter should contact the loss prevention department.