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S. Korea implements 0.10% sulphur limit on vessels at anchorage or mooring in its five major ports

Date. 2020. 8.19.
Hit. 522

On 1 September 2020, a new marine fuel standard, SOx Emission Control Area regulation, will enter into force.


The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF, Minister Moon Seong-Hyeok) has announced that vessels plying in Korea’s designated Emission Control Areas (ECAs) must use fuel with a sulphur content of no more than 0.10% from 1 September 2020, against the current limit of 0.50%.


* The SOX Emission Control Area regulation (Public notice No. 2019-202 by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries) is enacted in accordance with Article 10 of the Special Act on the Improvement of Air Quality in Port Areas, etc.


Initially, the 0.10% sulphur limit will be applied to vessels at anchorage or berth in the ECAs from 1 September 2020, which cover Korea’s five main ports: Busan, Incheon, Yeosu-Gwangyang, Ulsan and Pyeongtaek-Dangjin. From January 2022 onward, the scope will be expanded to include all vessels entering the ECAs.


In the ECAs, vessels are required to use fuel oil not exceeding a sulfur content of 0.10%. In the case of vessels using non-compliant fuel oil, alternative measures must be taken to reduce the SOx emissions to below the certain level* by using scrubbers.


* 4.3 SO2 (ppm) / CO2 (%, v/v)


In particular, vessels switching from high-sulphur fuel oil to low-sulphur fuel oil should take extra caution to ensure the fuel oil service system to be fully flushed of all non-complaint fuel oils exceeding the applicable sulphur content. In addition, in preparation for onboard inspection, the date, time and position of vessels when fuel oil change-over operation is completed must be recorded in a log book pursuant to relevant laws and regulations.


According to a research from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a decrease in sulphur content of fuel oil from 0.50% to 0.10% can additionally reduce particulate matters (PM2.5) and SOx emissions from vessels by approximately 10% and 14%, respectively. Considering that PM2.5 and SOx account for 26.2% and 41.8%* of total airborne emissions from vessels in the ECAs, respectively, the implementation of the new SOx ECA regulation is expected to give rise to significant improvement of air quality in the port areas.


* Calculated on the basis of statistics on air pollutant emissions in 2017 (National Center for Fine Dust Information)

Director-General Kim Min-jong of Maritime Affairs and Safety Policy Bureau said, “The SOx Emission Control Area regulation implemented in the major ports of Korea, coupled with other policies on green ship development and distribution, is forecast to reduce airborne emissions from ships, contributing to improving air quality in and around port areas.”


Further information on designation and operation of SOx ECAs, and relevant laws and regulations (Public Notice on Designation of SOX Emission Control Area and Special Act on Air Quality Improvement In Port and Other Areas) can be found on the MOF website ( www.mof.go.kr ).