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Tuesday, April 28, 2020 

According to DNV GL, the South Korean Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (MOF) has announced an air quality control programme that defines selected South Korean ports and areas as Emission Control Areas (ECAs), imposing a 0.1% maximum fuel sulphur limit and speed restrictions, in order to cut particulate and SOx emissions.

The following ports/areas are covered by the air quality control programme:


  • Incheon, Pyeongtaek, Dangjin Area
  • Yeosu, Gwangyang area
  • Busan
  • Busan (west) area
  • Ulsan area


From 1 September 2020 vessels will be required to use max 0.1% sulphur fuel (or reduce emissions below this target) for 1 hour after completion of berthing until 1 hour before de-berthing, and for 1 hour after completion of anchoring until 1 hour before leaving anchor. From 1 January 2022 it will be mandatory to use fuel with max. 0.1% sulphur content (or reduce emissions below this target) while navigating within the ECAs.

The port areas selected will be designated as 'VSR programme Sea Areas'. Each Sea Area will span 20 nautical miles in radius, measured from a specific lighthouse in each port. Ships should navigate no faster than a maximum speed of 12 knots for container ships and car-carriers, 10 knots for other ship types, when moving from starting point to an end point within a Sea Area. Ships covered under the VSR programme will differ at each port, but the restrictions will be applied to specific vessel types of 3,000gt and above.

Under the VSR programme, ships will have their port facilities fees lowered when they enter defined port areas within the defined speed levels, with discount ceilings differing between the ports. Container ships, for example, which traditionally enter port at relatively high speeds, will enjoy up to a 30% discount, while other ships will be granted a 15% discount.

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