© Jonathan Eastland

At the beginning of 2015, new shipping emission regulations entered force in some US and EU waters which reduced the allowable SOx content of vessel fuel emissions from 1% to 0.1%. Shipowners and operators had previously predicted financial armageddon in those waters, as the price of traditional heavy fuel oil was at least twice that of the cleaner marine gas oil. With precipitously falling fuel prices during the year that differential ultimately didn’t matter so much. But these two pieces of legislation, derided by shipowners and welcomed by environmentalists in equal measure are now set to be extended globally, at least partially – the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is meeting London later this month to discuss a global cap on the SOx content of bunker fuel from 3.5% to 0.5%. However, this time increasing numbers of states, and China is among them, want to see action.

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