Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2016
On 2 June 2015 the NSW parliament released a consultation draft
of new regulations which will mandate the use of low sulphur fuel
(0.1% or less) by all cruise ships berthing in Sydney Harbour after
1 October 2015 and in all NSW ports after 1 July 2016.
The requirement for all cruise ships to use low sulphur fuel in
Sydney Harbour from 1 October 2015 will apply to the Overseas
Passenger Terminal at Darling Harbour and the White Bay Cruise
Terminal, Sydney's two main cruise terminals.
The draft regulations introduce an offence if any of the engines
of a ship use fuel other than low sulphur fuel during berthing
operations, for which the Master and Owner are held liable and may
be penalised up to $22,000 in the case of the Master and $44,000 in
the case of Owners. Limited exemptions to the use of low sulphur
fuel are provided. However, they do not accommodate ordinary
commercial operational constraints and will only apply in
exceptional and unexpected circumstances.
Obligations are also imposed on vessel Owners in relation to
keeping log books and other records relating to the use of fuel
within the regulated ports. The regulations also provide that the
relevant authority can approve alternative methods for cruise ships
to achieve low sulphur emissions, other than the use of low sulphur
fuel. Such methods may include the use of scrubber technology and
similar measures, although there has not yet been any confirmation
on this or any draft approved methods released.
Obligations are also imposed on those supplying low sulphur fuel
to vessels in Sydney Harbour (as of 1 October 2015) and all NSW
ports (as of 1 July 2016), to provide a bunker delivery note that
complies with Annexes V and VI of MARPOL and a fuel sample sealed
and signed by the Master and a representative of the bunker
The draft regulations can be found here...
Any submissions on the draft regulations must be received by 12pm
on Monday, 15 June 2015.
The proposed regulations have been introduced following ongoing
concerns of local residents of the White Bay Cruise Terminal in
relation to noise and air pollution arising from the relocation of
part of Sydney's overseas cruise passenger operations to White
Bay some years ago.
The relevant authority for regulating air pollution at White Bay
is the NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA). After a
detailed study and consultation process, calls were made for the
EPA to introduce new environmental licensing requirements in
relation to air and noise pollution for NSW cruise shipping
terminals, possibly mandating standards even lower than those
internationally accepted under MARPOL. Submissions made by industry
appear to have resulted in the adoption of MARPOL standards in line
with international practice, but calls to await the implementation
of the new MARPOL standards internationally have been outweighed by
the concerns of local residents.
In response to those concerns, on 27 May 2015 the Port Authority
of NSW issued a direction suspending all overnight cruise ship
berthing at the White Bay Cruise Terminal, until the EPA implements
its new regulations in relation to the use of low sulphur fuel in
Industry Concerns and Action Required
Industry concerns include the physical ability and costs to
conduct any necessary vessel modifications by the 1 October 2015
deadline and the potential lack of availability of low sulphur
Cruise vessel operators berthing in NSW will need to ensure that
their vessels are low sulphur fuel compliant, starting from 1
October 2015 for any vessel calls in Sydney Harbour. Measures for
the supply of low sulphur fuel will need to be put in place prior
to the implementation of the new regulations.
Bunker suppliers will need to review their bunker delivery
documentation to ensure that it complies with Annexes V and VI of
MARPOL and that the new fuel sampling requirements are complied
Our Transport team in Sydney are available to assist in
preparing any submissions on the draft regulations and with
implementing compliance measures in order to avoid any breach of
the new regulations.
This publication does not deal with every important topic or
change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute
for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's
specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of
interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice
relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named
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