A total of 1,458 vessels operating in European waters between January and April 2015 were spot checked, and 90 vessels (6%) were found to be non-compliant with the new regulations.
The reasons for the vessels’ non-compliance included: keeping inaccurate records or having incorrect processes, being unable to produce satisfactory fuel samples, and having fuel in tank with a sulphur content above 0.1%.
As of 1st January 2015, vessels operating in EU Sulphur Emission Control Areas, or SECA (including the North Sea, Baltic Sea, North American coastal areas and the US Caribbean Sea), are required by EU law to burn fuel with a maximum sulphur content of 0.1%, a reduction from 1%.
The EU requires member states to conduct spot checks on a minimum of 10% of ships in its waters in 2015, although several states exceed this and test up to 20%.
Ship owners and operators should be aware that these spot checks are taking place, and ensure that all their vessels are fully compliant. Barry Newton, Managing Director of physical marine gas oil supplier Geos Group, said: “It is increasingly important for fuel buyers to understand what they have on board in terms of specification, flashpoint and sulphur. Being in control of our supply chain from the oil refinery and onwards to the vessel means that our customers can trust us to supply top quality product every time.”