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The Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMD) has named the first vessel it says broke this year’s updated Emissions Control Area (ECA) rules, with two infractions coming within the first few weeks of the tightened regulations coming into force on January 1, 2015.
The freighter Sardius, and which is owned by Dutch company De Bock Maritiem B.V. (De Bock), was said to have been inspected after it docked at Florø on February 5, 2015 and was found to have used illegal fuel earlier that day, as well as on January 8, 2015.
De Bock, which is said to have a fleet of three ships that frequent Norwegian coast, has reportedly been ordered to pay $100,000 in fees for the infringements.
The NMD says that the ship’s log books showed that the Sardius was using HFO “containing at least 13 times more sulfur than the permitted limit of 0.10 percent” over a 15 hour period, just south of Haugesund.
The NMD also says that it is evident that the vessel used HFO again on February 5, 2015 upon entering into the ECA during voyage of about two hours.
DeBock reportedly does not dispute the contents of Sardius log books, but “strongly” disagrees with the penalty, explaining that the vessel’s crew did not realise they were in a designated ECA and saved “almost nothing” by using the improper type of fuel.
The company also is said to have asked the NMD to reconsider the fine, as its vessels have not previously been subject to any punishment for ECA violations.
DeBock adds that, apart from the two occasions of violation, the vessel documentation shows that ship has always used the correct fuel, and notes that it “is customary” to give warnings to violators of rules immediately after they have been implemented, not fines.
Sardius is said to be the first of four similar violation cases that the NMD has seen so far this year.
In July, the Standard Club said it has seen a general increase in the number and level of fines for violations of environmental regulations, mostly under Annex I – Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution by Oil.