March 30, 2017

According to reports from the Chinese lawyers, Hai Tong & Partners, local MSA branches in Hebei and Tianjin have recently taken action to punish foreign ships for use of fuel with sulphur content over 0.5%, which contravenes the recently introduced Chinese emission control area (ECA) regulations.

In a recent case, following routine inspection of a foreign flagged ship at Tianjin, an MSA officer suspected that the ship had used illegal fuel. Subsequent sampling of the fuel showed that the sulphur content was 0.866%, exceeding the 0.5% permitted maximum. This is believed to be the first case of a violation of the new ECA regulations.

According to the Chinese Ministry of Transport, 11 core ports (Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Zhuhai, Shanghai, Ningbo-Zhoushan, Suzhou, Nantong, Tianjin, Qinhuangdao, Tangshan and Huangye) have now started to implement and enforce the low sulphur policy. It is reported that local MSAs are expected to strengthen their inspection regime for foreign ships calling at these ports. Members should ensure that any ships calling at these ports comply with the low sulphur requirements to avoid possible detention or penalty in case of violation.