EU: Time Not To Burn Brimstone

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Jan 022010

If the California experience is anything to go by we can expect to see propulsion failures on the increase as Council Directive 2005/33/EC comes in to force. It mandates that ships may only use fuel oil with less than 0.1 per cent sulphur – brimstone to bible thumpers – while in EU ports and exceptions are few and far between.

Following a failed attempt by Pacific Merchant Shipping Association to bar the California Air Resources Board from imposing similar restrictions in mid-2009 some 15 maritime casualties were linked to propulsion failures when switching to low sulphur fuels. As a result, the US Coast Guard issued a safety alert on the issue.

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