Hong Kong has extended its incentive scheme for oceangoing vessels that use cleaner fuel when berthing in the city’s waters for 30 months, until 31 March 2018.
Beginning 1 July the switch to cleaner fuel, including low-sulphur marine fuel, LNG, or other approved fuel for oceangoing vessels at berth will become mandatory in Hong Kong, a statement of Hong Kong’s Environmental Protection Department (EPD) said on 1 June.
The scope of the incentive scheme will be extended to cover not only vessels using low-sulphur fuel, but also those using LNG or approved fuel or technology that can achieve sulphur dioxide (SO2) emission reduction as effectively as the use of low-sulphur fuel while at berth.
The Hong Kong government launched a three-year incentive scheme on 26 September 2012 to encourage vessels to switch to low-sulphur marine fuel (i.e., with sulphur content not exceeding 0.5%) while at berth by reducing by half their port facilities and light dues.
“Hong Kong is the first Asian city to require vessels to switch to cleaner fuel when at berth. To maintain Hong Kong’s port competitiveness, the incentive scheme has been extended for 30 months to 31 March 2018,” an EPD official said.
On 1 June, EPD started to accept applications for registration under the extended incentive scheme.
All registrations under the current scheme will expire on 25 September. Owners, operators, or their agents registered under the current incentive scheme should apply for registration for the extended incentive scheme before September this year if they would like to enjoy the port facilities and light dues concession.
Oceangoing vessels generally run on heavy fuel oil with sulphur content of up to 3.5%. SO2 emissions from the vessels at berth account for about 40% of the total SO2 emissions within Hong Kong waters, according to EPD. Switching to cleaner fuel while at berth can reduce total SO2 emissions in Hong Kong by 12%, which can help improve Hong Kong’s air quality, particularly around the port areas.