China - Emission Control Areas – MSA Inspection Criteria

1st August 2016

Further to the Club’s news article of 16 December 2015 and the update of 9 February 2016 concerning the introduction of emission control areas in China, the Chinese Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) has formulated guidelines on what MSA officers are to look for when checking the compliance of vessels with Chinese ECA requirements.

The checks contained within the guidelines are split between vessels which switch to low-sulphur bunker fuels and vessels that use alternative compliance measures whilst within the ECA.

Vessels which have switched to low-sulphur bunker fuel, when subjected to an inspection by MSA officers, will initially undergo a documents check in which the engine logbooks, the supporting paperwork for supply and receipt of bunkers and the records pertaining to fuel switching operations will be examined.

Following the assessment of the relevant documentation by the MSA officers, if it is suspected or determined that the vessel’s documentation is non-compliant then sampling and testing of the bunkers on board in accordance to MARPOL Annex VI will be undertaken by the Chinese Authorities.

Failure of a vessel in this category to comply with the fuel oil usage requirements within the ECA will result in penalties based on the severity of the infringement. The punishments imposed could be a warning, a rectification of the violation, the arrest of the vessel or the imposition of financial penalties. Fine imposed under Article 106 of the Law of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) on the Prevention and Control of Atmospheric Pollution can range from RMB 10,000 to RMB 100,000 and/or under Article 63 of the Regulation on Administration of the Prevention and Control of Marine Environment Pollution Caused by Vessels, a fine of up to RMB 20,000 can be levied.

Vessels using alternative compliance measures (shore base power, clean energies or exhaust gas cleaning equipment) will be subjected to a document check in which the engine logbooks, fuel switching records and vessel certification that governs on board air pollution prevention will be examined by the MSA officers.

If, during the documentation check, there is a suspicion or actual determination that the vessel is in breach of the requirements, then an onsite inspection of the ancillary facilities utilised by the vessel and their operation will be conducted by the MSA.

Penalties for vessels in this category which are not in compliance with regulatory requirements could involve a warning, a requirement for a rectification of the violation or the arrest of the vessel.

Should there be any departure of a vessel from the ECA prior to the completion of the examination by the MSA officer, the MSA will utilise their national inspectorate offices in the PRC to pursue a vessel calling at Chinese ports of call in the future.

Further details of the MSA’s ECA inspection guidelines can be found in the Notice of the Maritime Safety Administration PRC on Strengthening  the Supervision and Administration on ECAs for Vessels (English Version) / (Chinese Version).

Members requiring further information should contact the Loss Prevention department.

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