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China changes its ECA timeline

According to information provided by Gard’s correspondent Huatai Insurance Agency and Consultant Service Ltd, the Chinese authorities have announced an early implementation of the 0.50% sulphur cap in ports other than the designated key ports. From 1 September 2017, ships berthing at all ports in the Zhejiang Province of the Yangtze River Delta emission control area (ECA) are required to use fuel with a sulphur content not exceeding 0.50%. The ports of Jiaxing, Ningbo-Zhoushan, and Taizhou are all located within the Zhejiang Province.

See our correspondent’s circular PNI 1710 of 1 September 2017 for further details.


China designated the Pearl River and Yangtze River Deltas, and Bohai-rim Waters as domestic ECAs in 2015 and announced a gradual implementation of the requirements concerning emissions of air pollutants from ships. Since 1 January 2017 ships have been required to burn fuel with a sulphur content not exceeding 0.50% while berthed at eleven key ports within the ECAs. According to the original ECA timeline, the 0.50% sulphur cap will from 1 January 2018 also apply to ships berthing at other ports in the three ECAs whilst from 1 January 2019, ships will be required to burn fuel with a sulphur content not exceeding 0.50% at all times while operating within the ECAs. Please refer to our alert “Chinese ECAs – sulphur requirements for marine fuels” for guidance on the regulation and its enforcement.


Members and clients are advised to note the above and instruct ships calling at Chinese ports accordingly. To avoid any delay or penalty being incurred by the ship, owners and operators should:

-revisit bunkering strategies and fuel change-over procedures to ensure compliance with the relevant Chinese requirements;
-record as soon as practicable after each occurrence the dates and times of the ship’s arrival and departure in a Chinese port as well as the commencement and completion of fuel change-over operations, and keep such records onboard readily available for inspection;
-ensure that the quality of fuel purchased can be documented, e.g. by obtaining and retaining onboard bunker delivery notes (BDNs) and representative samples of the low sulphur fuel oil delivered; and
-verify the applicable port requirements at any given time with the local agent or port authorities well before arrival as local cities and relevant authorities continue to evaluate the implementation of the new regulation and the control measures to be taken.
Source: GARD

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