California - Enforcement of Vessel Fuel Standards up to 24 Miles from Coast

November 2011

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Charts from CARB Marine Notice 2011_2
Charts from CARB Marine Notice 2011_2

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) have issued a Marine Notice confirming that the amended Regulation on Fuel Sulphur and Other Operational Requirements for Ocean-Going Vessels within California Waters and 24 Nautical Miles of the California Baseline will be enforced with effect from 1 December 2011.

Earlier website articles* on this Regulation reported on the litigation by Pacific Merchant Shipping Association ("PMSA") (a mutual benefit corporation comprised of owners and operators of U.S. and foreign-flag vessels) which sought to prevent the state of California from expanding its enforcement of vessel fuel standards to 24 miles, well beyond the state's traditional 3-mile territorial limit. In March 2011 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected the PMSA appeal on this issue meaning that CARB are now free to enforce.

The changes to the fuel requirements are as follows:

Fuel Requirement       

Effective Date               

Percent Sulphur Content Limit

Phase 1 1 July 2009

Marine gas oil (DMA) at or below 1.5% sulphur; or

Marine diesel oil (DMB) at or below 0.5% sulphur

Phase 1
1 August 2012

Marine gas oil (DMA) at or below 1.0% sulphur; or

Marine diesel oil (DMB) at or below 0.5% sulphur
Phase 2 1 January 2014

Marine gas oil (DMA) or marine diesel oil (DMB)at or below 0.1% sulphur

The Ocean-Going Vessels - Fuel Rule page of the CARB website gives further details about the Regulation, enforcement and penalties, including all related Marine Notices, and can be found at: at: www.arb.ca.gov/ports/marinevess/ogv.htm 

ECM Maritime Services Client Alert 35-2011, which reviews the regulation and enforcement provisions, is also available to view and download below (with kind permision).  

*See California Fuel Standards apply up to 24 Miles from Coast for further background including information about MARPOL Annex VI affecting the area pursuant to North American Emissions Control Area regulation.