Drones and delays
With stricter limits on emissions comes the problem of policing the rules with different authorities taking different views. As part of the North American ECA, Canadian waters became subject to the stricter IMO Tier III limit on NOx emissions for new vessels built after 1 January this year. However, because of an apparent shortage of compliant engines within the power range of 130kW to 750kW, the requirement has been deferred for a year until 2017. Affected ships will still have to comply with the earlier standard which demands engines above 130kW meet the IMO Tier II or US EPA 3 requirements. In Europe where ships operating in the Baltic and North Sea SECAs have been obliged to meet the 0.1% limit since last year, plans are proceeding to employ drones to sniff out offenders. Yesterday the Danish Maritime Authority and the Danish EPA released a joint action plan for surveillance in Danish waters that involves sniffer drones and helicopter mounted sensors. The plan also suggests that the Netherlands authorities will participate on a project with a Danish company producing the sensors. Another project unrelated to the Danish action plan could see drone flights from Germany starting later this year. Denmark has already conducted some surveillance in 2015 and reports that only a very few ships were found to be flouting the new SOx rules. It will be interesting to see how long the expense of the projects will continue to be incurred if few or no prosecutions result.