Getting ready for low sulphur ship fuel oil limits in the Mediterranean

In 2025, Mediterranean Sea states will begin enforcing global regulations mandating that ships meet stringent requirements to reduce harmful Sulphur dioxide (SOx) pollution.

To facilitate the implementation of these new cleaner air rules, a regional workshop was held on May 22–23 at the Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (REMPEC) in Malta. The workshop, attended by around 30 representatives from maritime regulatory authorities and marine environmental organizations, focused on understanding the air pollution prevention and energy efficiency requirements under Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). This includes the 0.10% sulphur limit in the Mediterranean Sea Emission Control Area for Sulfur Oxides and Particulate Matter (Med SOx ECA).

Starting May 1, 2025, ships operating in the Med SOx ECA must adhere to a sulphur content limit in fuel oil of 0.10% mass by mass (m/m), significantly lower than the 0.50% m/m limit outside this area.

Participants at the workshop had the chance to share best practices and lessons learned from other established Emission Control Areas (ECAs) under the IMO, such as the Baltic Sea and the North Sea.

The workshop was organized by REMPEC and funded by the IMO’s Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP) and the Mediterranean Trust Fund (MTF).

The Mediterranean Sea is a crucial maritime corridor, accounting for 20% of global seaborne trade. It is estimated that the Mediterranean hosts 24% of the global fleet of ships and more than 17% of the world’s cruises.

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