Chinese Emission Control Areas (ECAs) effective from 1 January 2016

  • Published: 5th January 2016
  • Category: Policy Updates
  • Committee: Safety & Environment

Please be advised that on 4 December 2015, China announced the establishment of ship Emission Control Areas (ECAs) in the Pearl River Delta, the Yangtze River Delta and the Bohai Bay rim area.  Attached are maps showing the newly defined ECAs with the bounding points listed along with the designated key/core ports within each area.

The regulation will apply to all merchant ships navigating, anchored or under operation in the waters of the control areas, except for naval ships, sport ships and fishing vessels.  

With effect from 1 January 2016, ships should strictly follow the requirements of current international conventions or local laws/regulations (whichever is stricter) on the emission control of SOx, particulates and NOx. If the port condition allows, ports within control areas may implement stricter requirements than current conventions, regulations such as requiring use of fuel with 0.5% m/m Sulphur content or below. 

The implementation schedule for the new requirements is as follows:

  • From 1 January 2016, some ports (if the port condition allows) within the control areas may implement the requirement for use of fuel with 0.5% m/m Sulphur content or below when ships are alongside or at anchor.  Note that this is for any port within the control area, not just the key/core ports;
  • From 1 January 2017, key/core ports of control areas shall implement the requirements for use of fuel with 0.5% m/m Sulphur content or below when ships are alongside or at anchor;
  • From 1 January 2018, all ports within control areas shall implement requirements for use of fuel with 0.5% m/m Sulphur content or below when ships are alongside or at anchor; and
  • From 1 January 2019, ships entering into control areas shall use fuel with 0.5% m/m Sulphur content or below. 

It should be noted that following an assessment of the effects of the above actions China will possibly implement requirements for use of fuel with 0.1% m/m Sulphur content or below after 31 December 2019. 

The requirements for ships at berth or at anchor are applicable from one hour after ships are berthed to one hour before departure. Ships may use other alternative measures to reduce emissions, such as shore power, clean energy, scrubbers, etc.

Members are also reminded of the existing Hong Kong regulation “Air Pollution Control (Ocean Going Vessels) (Fuel at Berth) Regulation”, which came into operation on 1 July 2015. A copy of the Hong Kong regulation is attached to this circular.