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Strengthening of SOx Emission Standards at Korean Ports

SSM Roundel

Steamship Mutual

Published: December 11, 2021

Pursuant to the 2019 Special Act on the improvement of Air Quality in Port areas, any vessel moored or anchored in the SOx Emission Control Areas of the Republic of Korea – including Incheon, Pyeongtaek, Dangjin, Ulsan, Yeosu, Gwangyang and Busan Port Areas – shall not consume fuel oil with a Sulphur content exceeding 0.1% (wt%). This has been in effect since 1st September 2020 and up to 31st December 2021.

As of 1st January 2022, the Sulphur content emission limit shall be extended to all vessels entering or leaving the SOx Emission Control Areas. Vessels navigating through such designated port areas are required to record information such as the change of fuel oil in the engine logbook, and the records shall be retained on board for a period of not less than 12 months from the time of delivery of the fuel oils to the subject vessel (Article 10). Shipowners in breach of the said Act may be exposed to an administrative fine of up to KRW 1,000,000 (Article 24).

A consistent position is set out under article 44 of the Marine Environment Management Act which provides that, as of 1st January 2022, all vessels navigating in Korean ports shall not consume fuel oil with a Sulphur content exceeding 0.5% (wt%) save for vessels in the SOx Emission Control Areas where the limit of 0.1% (wt%) applies. Any breach of this Act may result in a fine of up to KRW 10 million or imprisonment with labour of up to 1 year (Article 129).

The Club would like to highlight to our Members Article 10 (2) of the Special Act (16308) on the Improvement of Air Quality in Port Areas that - “No shipowner shall use any fuel oil that exceeds the sulfur content standards prescribed by Presidential Decree in any port air quality control area: Provided, That the foregoing shall not apply if a shipowner reduces sulfur oxides emissions below the sulfur oxides emission level prescribed by Ordinance of the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries by installing an exhaust gas cleaning system that satisfies the requirements prescribed by Ordinance of the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries”

The permitted emission level with exhaust gas SO2/CO2 ratio of 4.3 (vol%) is as set out in the IMO 2015 EGCS Guidelines (MEPC. 259(68)).

The vessel shall record the operation status of the EGCS in the engine logbook in this case including change-over of the operational mode, time and location as applicable.

The text of the Special Act (16308) along with the Enforcement Decree of the Special Act (30261), and the Guidance published by the Ministry of Ocean and Fisheries, will provide further guidance.

Members are advised to contact their local agents for further advice before their vessels call at Korean ports.

The Club expresses its thanks to correspondents Mutual Service Korea Limited for their invaluable contribution to this article.

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