MSC hit by penalty for 2,500 CARB violations

Paul Gunton
Paul Gunton

10 December 2018

Swiss-based liner operator MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company has paid $630,625 in penalties to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for violating the Ocean-Going Vessel At-Berth regulation.

The violations were discovered during a routine audit of the company’s 2014 visits to the Port of Oakland and the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The investigation by CARB revealed more than 2500 violations for both the Oakland and LA/LB fleets for failing to reduce auxiliary engine power generation by at least 50% and for exceeding limits for auxiliary engine run time as required by the At-Berth regulation.

“Ocean-going vessels are significant contributors to air pollution,” said CARB Enforcement Division Chief Todd Sax. "Even in port, their auxiliary engines generate toxic diesel particulate pollution that impacts not only port-adjacent communities, but also entire inland regions. This regulation helps to protect all Californians and is necessary to ensure we meet our clean air goals.”

The names of the ships involved were not revealed and it is unclear if MSC will seek to recover the charges from the beneficial owners of ships in its fleet that are operating under time charter arrangements. MSC did say that ships have been adapted to meet CARB requirements and further penalties for years after 2014 are not expected.

Adopted in 2007, the At-Berth Regulation was designed to reduce emissions from diesel auxiliary engines on container ships, passenger ships and refrigerated-cargo ships while berthing at a California port. Vessel operators can either turn off auxiliary engines and connect to grid-based shore power or use alternative technologies to achieve equivalent emission reductions while in port. The regulation ultimately requires a fleet operator to reduce at-berth NOx PM emissions from its vessels’ auxiliary engines in port by at least 80 percent by 2020.