MSA Issue Implementation Plan for Emission Control Areas

January 2017

PDF Version

The Maritime Safety Administration of the People’s Republic of China (MSA) has issued the ‘Implementation Plan on Domestic Emission Control Areas (DECAs) in the river and coastal waters of China.

The DECAs have been divided into three regions, the Pearl River Delta, Yangtze River Delta and the Bohai Rim. The regions have been marked by a geodesic line and indicated on a map for each region extending 12 Nautical Miles from the coastline in the case of both Pearl River and Yangtze River deltas and by a straight line joining the coastlines of Dalian and Dandong with the coastlines of Yantai and Weihai for the Bohai Rim.

These regions have been designated for the control of SOx , NOx and particulate emissions from vessels with the purpose of improving air quality in coastal areas, along the rivers and port cities.

Where all vessels are to meet the international conventions and domestic regulations of China in terms of emission control, higher requirements within the defined DECAs are being imposed on the sulphur content of fuel oil used on board vessels on a progressive basis.

The sulphur content in fuel oil not exceeding 0.5% m/m is to be complied by vessels whilst berthed at any of the ‘core ports’ on and after 1st January 2017, excluding the first hour after arrival and last hour before departure.

The core ports within each DECA as per the directive are:

Pearl River Delta - Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Zhuhai
Yangtze River Delta- Shanghai, Ningbo-Zhoushan, Suzhou and Nantong
Bohai Rim- Tianjin, Qinhuangdao, Tangshan and Huanghua


The restriction on sulphur content in fuel oil to not exceed 0.5% m/m shall be applicable in all ports in the DECAs on and after 1st January 2018.

On and after 1st January 2019 the sulphur content restriction of not exceeding 0.5%m/m will be applicable to all vessels entering the DECAs.

A further assessment will be conducted before 31st December 2019 for introducing a 0.1% m/m sulphur cap on the fuel oil in the DECAs, the extension of the geographical scope of DECAs and introduction of further control measures.

Alternative equivalent control measures such as use of shore power at the berth, treatment of exhaust gas and clean energy can be taken by the vessels.

Member should seek further guidance from local agents well before arriving in the emission control area.

Click here to link to the full plan. For any further assistance please contact your Club Contact.