U.S. Ports Advocate for Reducing Emissions From Ships
At its U.S. Legislative Policy Council meeting last week in Norfolk, Va., the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) metaphorically got the "green light" from its member ports to advocate for setting new, tougher standards for air emissions from both foreign and domestic ships. The emissions-limiting agenda sought by AAPA follows a U.S. government proposal for more stringent international rules for ocean-going vessels.
"As stewards of the coastal environment, our member ports feel strongly that their seaport operations should be the cleanest they can be, so they have empowered AAPA to advocate for limiting the emissions that ships produce," said Susan Monteverde, AAPA's government relations vice president. "What AAPA recommended and our members approved is for the Association to work with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to support its proposal to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to adopt more stringent vessel emission requirements as part of the international MARPOL Annex VI treaty."
The recommendation calls for strict emission limits for particulate matter and oxides of sulfur, beginning in 2011; limits on new engines to achieve oxides of nitrogen reductions of at least 15 percent beginning in 2011 (compared to existing emissions levels in the current MARPOL Annex VI treaty); and phased-in requirements on "legacy" engines (built before Jan. 1, 2000) to achieve a 20 percent oxides of nitrogen reduction starting in 2010. The approach to cut emissions is through a combination of new fuel standards in certain coastal areas and new engine system standards.
At its Oct. 3 meeting in Norfolk, AAPA's members agreed to support the EPA in its quest to set new international standards for oxides of nitrogen (NOx) for tier two and tier three ships' engines, new standards for particulate matter and oxides of sulfur (SOx) for all vessels, and standards for oxides of nitrogen for existing vessels.
"Our member ports were clear that they want their association to take on the challenge of limiting ship emissions worldwide," said Ms. Monteverde. "Considering that emissions from ocean-going ships are predicted to grow by more than 70 percent over the next 15 years with the expansion of global trade, our members believe it is imperative to take a strong stand on this issue."