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Friday, June 12, 2020 

Norwegian risk management specialist Gard has informed ship operators that South Korea will be implementing new emissions reduction measures later this year.

According to Gard's latest update, the following South Korean port areas become domestic emission control areas (ECAs) as from 1 September 2020:

  • Incheon
  • Pyeongtaek-Dangjin
  • Yeosu-Gwangyang
  • Busan
  • Ulsan.

This means that from that date, ships must use fuel with a sulphur content not exceeding 0.10% while anchored or at berth, and, moreover, from 1 January 2022 ships must use fuel with a sulphur content not exceeding 0.10% at all times while operating within the domestic ECAs. Any fuel change-over operation must be completed prior to the entry into or commenced after exit from an ECA.

Although there is no direct link between the South Korean port air quality act and MARPOL Annex VI, Gard understands that the South Korean authorities will accept alternative compliance methods that are at least as effective in terms of sulphur emission reductions, e.g. use of scrubbers for exhaust gas cleaning and clean fuel (LNG).

Methods of checking compliance are expected to be similar to those used in MARPOL Annex VI ECAs.

In addition Gard reminds operators that the ports of Busan, Ulsan, Yeosu-Gwangyang and Incheon operate a speed reduction programme that is, at present, voluntary, and participating ships will receive discounts on port entry/leave fees for complying with the slow-steaming requirements. The sea areas in which the speed reductions apply span 20 nautical miles in radius, measured from a specific lighthouse in each port. Exact eligibility requirements vary between ports, but in general the scheme applies to vessels of above 3,000gt and among the top three “fine-dust emitting” ship types in the specific port.

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