Air Pollution

International requirements for the prevention of pollution from air emissions are contained in Annex VI of MARPOL, Pollution Convention entitled Regulations for the Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships. Annex VI contains requirements for nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions from diesel engines, sulphur content of fuel, fuel oil quality, emissions of ozone-depleting substances, incinerators, emissions of volatile organic compounds and International Air Pollution Certificates, as outlined below. Annex VI came into force on May 19, 2005.

Annex VI of the Pollution Convention requires that diesel engines over 130 kW installed on ships constructed after January 1, 2000, or engines over 130 kW that undergo a major conversion after January 1, 2000, must meet NOx emission standards and be certified under the NOx Technical Code.

Annex VI provides that administrations may exclude ships on domestic voyages from the requirement to comply after January 1, 2000, and as such, the requirement for Canadian ships on domestic voyages to comply will only be required upon the coming into force of the proposed regulations.

The former Air Pollution Regulations only addressed the colour of stack emissions. The new Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution from Vessels and for Dangerous Chemicals, Division 6 – Air – provide a consolidation of requirements of Annex VI of the Pollution Convention and the former Air Pollution Regulations. This Division applies to all ships in Canadian waters and to all Canadian ships everywhere. The regulations require ships of more than 400 tons gross tonnage to keep on board an Air Pollution Prevention Certificate. The regulations ban the release of ozone-depleting substances. Tankers using a vapour collection system for volatile organic compounds are required to meet international standards for the collection system. The regulations also ban the incineration of specified substances and require that incinerators be approved. The regulations specify the quality of fuel that can be used by a ship. Provisions concerning black smoke present no change from current smoke requirements. Section 167 of the regulations also requires ships to keep records in accordance with the NOx Technical Code. Adoption of these requirements will permit Canada to accede to Annex VI of the Pollution Convention.

The IMO is currently reviewing the provisions of Annex VI and new requirements may be incorporated in the future.