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An investigation by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) found that from 2017 to 2018, Mitsui O.S.K. Line’s (MOL) Oakland fleet did not meet the three-hour diesel engine operational time limits whilst at berth, and did not reduce auxiliary engine power generation by 70% as is required.

To settle the case, the company agreed to pay $253,300 to the Air Pollution Control Fund to support efforts to improve air quality, and to comply with all applicable CARB regulations.

‘Emissions from ships pollute communities adjacent to the Port, and also contribute to smog,’ said CARB Executive Officer Richard Corey. ‘This regulation requiring shipping fleets to reduce their diesel emissions while at berth has a profound impact on helping clean up air quality, especially in communities located near ports.’

Adopted in 2007, the original At-Berth Regulation, requires vessel fleets to reduce their diesel engine power generation while docked. Power reduction requirements have been phased in over time and increased from 70% to 80% in 2020. 

Fleets can accomplish this by turning off their diesel engines and connecting to grid-based shore power, or by using alternative technologies to achieve equivalent emission reductions while in port. The regulation ultimately reduces at-berth oxides of nitrogen and particulate matter emissions from the auxiliary engines that power the electricity and other onboard operations during a vessel’s visit. According to CARB, in 2017, 87% of all regulated fleets complied with the regulation.

CARB recently adopted a new At-Berth Regulation to seek additional emissions reductions by including smaller fleets and additional vessel types such as Ro-Ro vehicle carriers and tankers. The rule builds on progress achieved by the original regulation, which helped to achieve an 80% reduction in harmful emissions from more than 13,000 vessel visits since 2014.

AMERICAS: MSC coughs up $630K for air quality violations

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