IMO delays application of Tier III limits to Large Yachts by 5 years

At the 66th session of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), held from 31 March to 4 April 2014, the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) adopted amendments to Tier III limits for engine nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions as set out in the MARPOL Convention.

The latter limits apply locally in Emission Control Areas(ECAs). While all ship engines with a power above 130 kW are within scope of the convention, there is an exclusion for recreational vessels over 24 metres.

The British Marine Federation (BMF) working with the International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA) and member associations raised the likely loss of economic viability of building and operating yachts greater than 500gt should Tier III limits be applied to these vessels using currently available technologies.

A proposal submitted by the Marshall Islands and Cook Islands (and with substantial support from UK flag authorities) to delay the application of the rule for these yachts has been broadly recognised across the organisation and resulted in a decision today to implement the rule on these yachts from 1 January 2021 only.

In 2010 ICOMIA initiated a Tier III working group in order to coordinate the lobbying efforts at IMO.

Chaired by the BMF, the work comprised the analysis of state-of-the-art technologies to meet the emissions rule.

An impact assessment was submitted in 2013 which was the basis to IMO flag state recognition of the technical challenges to meet the rule.

A parallel proposal to delay the application of the rule by 5 years to 2021 for all vessels has been rejected.

For vessels within scope Tier III limits will start to apply from 1 January 2016, commencing with ECAs in North American and US Caribbean waters.