Regulations amending the Vessel Pollution and Dangerous Chemicals Regulations

The Regulations Amending the Vessel Pollution and Dangerous Chemicals Regulations introduce strict environmental standards that will help prevent deliberate, negligent and accidental discharge of vessel-source pollutants into Canadian waters.

The amendments set new stricter Canadian standards for environmental protection and apply to vessels under Annex VI of the International Maritime Organization’s International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), which Canada has negotiated with international partners including the United States.

Canada is further aligning its emission standards with the United States with the adoption of the North American Emission Control Area
The amendments adopt the North American Emission Control Area (ECA), which was adopted by the IMO in March 2010 and applies to ships of 400 GT and above navigating in designated coastal waters under the jurisdictions of Canada, the United States and France (for Saint-Pierre and Miquelon) south of 60° north latitude. Air emissions standards under the ECA are stricter than global requirements. It sets an initial 1 per cent limit on content of marine fuel, followed by a 0.1 per cent limit that will come into effect in 2015. It also sets standards that lower nitrogen oxide emissions for vessels transiting these waters.

Reducing allowable emissions of certain air pollutants from vessels
Exhaust emissions from vessels contain sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. Health Canada and Environment Canada conducted research on these pollutants and found that emissions of these pollutants from vessels were growing significantly and would adversely affect public health and the environment.

In accordance with MARPOL Annex VI, new standards to reduce emissions of key air pollutants from Canadian vessels operating overseas are coming into force. These standards will reduce ship-source emissions of sulphur oxide by 96% and nitrogen oxides by 80% by 2020. They lower how much sulphur can be in fuel and require adjustments to vessels’ engines. These requirements apply to vessels of 400 gross tonnage (GT) and above, except for domestic vessels that voyage only in Canadian waters. Compliance with the new requirements will ensure Canadian vessels can access ports around the world.

Raise energy efficiency requirements for vessels
Vessels of 400 GT and above that built after June 30, 2013, must meet new energy efficiency standards that will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30% by 2025. This does not apply to domestic vessels voyaging only in Canadian waters. The amended regulations also require new and existing vessels of 400 GT and above to have plans on board stating how each vessel will increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Creating a new air emissions regime for Canadian vessels operating in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence
Known as fleet averaging, it allows compliance with the new emissions requirements to be determined by a firm’s fleet overall. Between 2013 and 2020, the standard will progressively reduce allowable sulphur dioxide emissions until they match those of the ECA. By 2020, individual vessels will be required to meet the sulphur limits.

Establishing new standards for managing greywater discharges
Under the amendments, greywater (drainage from vessels’ sinks, laundries and kitchens) discharged Canadian waters (other than Arctic waters, which are subject to other standards) must not result in the deposit of solids or cause any sheen on the water. In addition, new vessels carrying more than 500 passengers must treat greywater before discharging it, or store it in holding tanks before discharging it at least three nautical miles from shore.

Setting new standards for smaller marine diesel engines
New standards will require smaller new marine diesel engines installed after January 1, 2016, to be certified to meet either the United States “Category 2” standards, or an equivalent international standard.

Improving transfer of oil between tankers at sea
These changes will align Canadian requirements to updated IMO standards to prevent marine pollution, by requiring oil tankers of 150 GT or more to carry plans on board for ship-to-ship oil transfer operations at sea. They will also be required to give advance notice of transfer operations.

May 2013

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News Release - Canada continues to align air emissions measures with the United States