The Merchant Shipping Directorate has recently published Merchant Shipping Notice 126, drawing the attention of Ship Owners, Ship Operators, Managers, Masters, Owners’ Representatives and Recognised Organisations, to the establishment of three emission control areas in the People’s Republic of China, effective as from 1st January 2016.

Maltese ships calling at the ports in the emissions control areas located in Zhujiang (Pear River) Delta, Yangtze River Delta and Bohai Sea are advised to contact their local agents prior to arrival so as to enquire of any particular local emission reduction requirements. Ships calling at these three ports may be required to use fuel oil with sulphur content not exceeding 0.5% m/m (or equivalent emission reduction measures) when at berth.

Moreover, effective as from 1st January 2016, Maltese ships must ensure that they are fully compliant with all the applicable requirements under existing conventions and domestic laws and regulations on sulphur oxides, particulate matter and nitrogen oxides, as strict enforcement of the said requirements is foreseen, in particular in relation to the inspection of the IAPP certificate, the bunker delivery note, the oil record book and check of fuel quality.

The Merchant shipping directorate also pointed out that:

  1. As from 1st January 2017, ships at a berth in the said emission control areas, excluding 1 hour after and 1 hour before anchorage and departure respectively, must use fuel oil with a sulphur content not exceeding 0.5% m/m (or equivalent emission reduction measures);
  2. As from 1st January 2018, during the period of berthing within the three emission control areas, ships shall be obliged to use fuel oil with a sulphur content not exceeding 0.5% m/m; and
  3. As from 1st January 2019 ships operating in the three emission control areas must use fuel oil containing less than 0.5% sulphur.

Click here to read the full text of the relative Merchant Shipping Notice 126, or contact us on for further guidance and information.