Taiwan began requiring ships entering its international commercial ports from international routes to use low sulfur fuel oil with 0.5% or lower sulfur content starting on January 1, 2019, one year ahead of the international convention to show its determination to prevent air pollution in port areas. Taiwan also added penal provisions and ship inspection operating procedures as support measures for implementation. The Maritime and Port Bureau (MPB) pointed out that SO2 emissions in international commercial ports as of the end of July 2019 decreased 3,707 metric tons compared with the same period last year (2018), showing that the implementation of low sulfur fuel oil control ahead of schedule has significantly improved the air pollution in port areas.
The MPB explained that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 2020 will begin to require ships on international routes to use low sulfur fuel oil with 0.5% sulfur content calculated by weight, or devices or alternative fuels with the equivalent emission reduction effect. Taiwan began to offer incentives in 2018 for ships on international routes to use low sulfur fuel oil, so that shipping companies will become familiar with its use and inspectors will become with inspection procedures and related documents, preparing for the implementation of low sulfur fuel oil control in 2019. The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) subsequently announced the implementation one year ahead of the international convention on July 31, 2018, and amended Articles 3 and 20 of the Regulations on Port Services at Commercial Ports on November 22, defining ships from international routes not using low sulfur fuel oil in port areas as an act of polluting the port area, and requiring ships to provide fuel oil data before entering port areas. Furthermore, flag state and port state control inspectors in Taiwan randomly inspect ships in international commercial ports in accordance with the Inspection Procedure for Vessels Using Low-Sulfur Fuel. If the sulfur content of a ship in a port area does not meet requirements, or the ship does not take measures with the same emission reduction effect, a fine of no less than NT$100,000 and no more than NT$500,000 will be imposed in accordance with Article 66 of the Commercial Port Law.
The MPB indicated that it plans to inspect 747 ships in 2019, and has inspected 592 ships as of the end of July (79.25% achievement rate), in which 3 ships were found in violation, which is a violation rate of 0.51%. Preliminary results of air pollution control can already be seen in the reduction of various pollutant emissions compared with the same period last year (2018), in which SO2 emissions decreased 3,707 metric tons, PM2.5 decreased 166 metric tons, PM10 decreased 205 metric tons, and NOX decreased 38 metric tons.
Currently, Taiwan, China, and Hong Kong are the only countries and regions in Asia to control the use of low sulfur fuel oil with sulfur content of 0.5% or under starting on January 1, 2019. The MPB will continue to conduct rolling reviews and monitor the latest international developments, in order to successfully comply with the international convention in 2020, contributing to the reduction of ocean pollution and environmental protection.
Contact Person: Section Chief Chen Hui-Ling, Port Affairs Division
Contact Number: 02-89786291 0919-985642