• Sep 5th 2011 at 12:44PM
  • 30
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has fined two shipping companies for failing to switch from bottom-of-the-barrel bunker fuel to clean-burning, low-sulfur fuel when sailing within 24 miles of California's coast, as required by state law adopted back in 2008.

CARB conducts an estimated 250 inspections of ocean vessels a year, checking that the ships use the proper fuel and comply with all air quality requirements. Samples of fuels found on board the vessels are taken to CARB's laboratory to determine if they meet low-sulfur guidelines.

In November 2010, the MSC Aniello, owned by the Mediterranean Shipping Company, and the vessel Wieniawski, owned by the Chipolbrok Shipping Company, continued to use bunker fuel within the 24-mile limit prior to docking at the Port of Long Beach. As part of their settlements with CARB, Mediterranean Shipping and Chipolbrok each agreed to pay a fine of $53,000 to the California Air Pollution Control Fund. The money will be set aside for air quality research.
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Shipping companies each fined $53K for violating fuel regulation

Vessels failed to use low-sulfur fuel in California waters


SACRAMENTO -

The California Air Resources Board has fined two shipping companies for failing to switch from dirty "bunker" fuel to cleaner, low-sulfur fuel when sailing within 24 miles of the California coast, as required by state law.

"Cargo vessels can burn some of the dirtiest fuels on the planet and we need to make sure that their engine emissions don't reach our coast," said ARB Enforcement Chief James Ryden. "Our fuel regulation is vitally important because it requires shippers to switch to cleaner-burning fuels that help fight air pollution in our coastal regions and port communities."

The measure, adopted in 2008, eliminates 15 tons of diesel exhaust – a known carcinogen – daily from ocean-going vessels, and is considered a vital tool in helping to reduce premature deaths and the risk of cancer associated with air pollution in the state's busy ports and trade corridors.

In November 2010, the MSC Aniello, owned by the Mediterranean Shipping Company, and the vessel Wieniawski, owned by the Chipolbrok Shipping Company, both used bunker fuel well within the 24-mile limit from the coast prior to docking at the Port of Long Beach.

As part of their settlements with ARB, Switzerland-based Mediterranean Shipping and Poland-based Chipolbrok each agreed to pay $53,000 to the California Air Pollution Control Fund (CAPCF) to support air quality research. They must also follow all fuel switchover requirements, and maintain accurate records.

The ARB conducts an estimated 250 ship inspections each year, checking for proper fuel usage, record-keeping and other compliance requirements, and takes marine gas oil or marine diesel oil samples for submission to the ARB laboratory to determine if the fuels meet ARB's low-sulfur standards.

Diesel exhaust contains a variety of harmful substances including more than 40 toxic compounds. In 1998, California identified diesel particulate matter as a toxic air contaminant based on its potential to cause cancer, premature death and other health problems.


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  • 30 Comments
      Marco Polo
      • 3 Years Ago
      For those who have had the patience to read my posts over the years, would know that I am neither a leftist Utopian nor a believer in conspiracy theories. However, IMHO, the use Bunker Oil fuel in Shipping is beyond comprehension. Nor strangely, are there any sceptic's, or advocates, to argue against the harmful effects of burning Bunker Oil. Even BP, Shell and Chevron do not defend the use of this fuel and have published scientific paper evidencing the dangers of the product. Some facts must be clearly stated. (these statements are very conservative) 1) The carcinogenic and other harmful health effects to humans, from Bunker Oil pollution, accounts for more than 100,000 deaths and 3,000,000 ailment's annually in the Northern hemisphere alone. 2) The pollution from 1 Large container vessel, can equal the pollution from up to 50 million motor vehicles. 3) Bunker Oil pollution is cumulative, and enters the food chain on many levels. 4) In the advent of a spill, Bunker oil is almost impossible to "clean up", and incredibly toxic to marine life. 4) Bunker Oil is approximately 60-70% cheaper to purchase than marine diesel, but only 30-40% cheaper to burn as fuel. 5) MARPOL International Treaty agreements are simply pathetic, toothless gestures. No one could seriously expect such ridiculous regulations to end the use of this pernicious fuel. Although most large international ports require international shipping to cease using bunker oil with territorial limits, this has proved to be a totally ineffective measure. 6) The rationale for the use of Bunker Oil, is economic. Other, marginally, more expensive alternative fuel technologies already exist. Bunker Oil can be replaced. If the use of Bunker Oil was abolished tomorrow, the oil industry would quickly develop alternative technology, to provide superior, economic and more environmental fuels for shipping. The Stan Petersen's of this world who argue that ships in international waters, can't be controlled, forget the precedent set by Britain in abolishing the slave trade. Britain not only abolished the transport of slaves, but outlawed shipping that could be rigged for slaving! Likewise major ports could simply refuse entry to those ships capable of operating on bunker oil. Naturally such a radical step would follow a reasonable time-line, to allow the shipping industry to adapt with minimal disruption. Likewise, the production of Bunker Oil would be licenced internationally, to decrease in accordance with a strict schedule. Sooner or later, this will become necessary, or perhaps a Tobacco type class action on behalf of the victims of this pernicious fuel might hasten things along!
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Marco Polo
        Bunker fuel is dirt cheap and no one is stopping them from using it. So they use it. And good luck trying to get some international body to ban its use. :-/
      Nick
      • 3 Years Ago
      That's NOT ENOUGH. No ship shall use bunker fuel anywhere. Period.
      Ziv
      • 3 Years Ago
      How much do you want to bet that there are two main results of the new CARB standards? The first is that the good shipping companies use cleaner fuel near California, the second is that the marginal shipping companies shift as much as is financially possible to ports north or south of California, thereby costing California jobs and driving up the price of imported goods there.
        Dan Frederiksen
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ziv
        so your thoughtless point is that california is wrong to object to pollution. think a little. however spineless carb has been, their initial mandate started the electric car revolution.
          stas peterson
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dan Frederiksen
          Dan Do you know, or have you ever even heard of the MARPOL International Treaty agreements on cleansing Ocean Going Vessels? Probably not. The idiots at CARB tried to fashion a unique statewide cleanup based on having shipping companies create a new fuel tank and carry a special fuel to burn as they neared California ports, because they couldn't wait two months for the adoption of the International treaty. In essence what they did was to demand a cleaner fuel like natural gas/hydrogen/ULSF diesel, to burn near California with no regard to expense or the danger of damage to marine engines, or raised shipping costs.. It is comparable to what some proposed for cars in poor air quality areas, and not demand the use of catalytic converters and low suflfur, no-lead gasoline, everywhere, back in the 1970s. It is a stupid, short sighted, policy, that only moronic CARBites would love. Everyone has ignored them and their dead letter law, so they thought to enforce it, and will only succeed in driving shipping concerns from LA and Long Beach, especially when the expanded Panama Canal is completed in a year or two. Meanwhile all the world's shipping is adopting the catalytic converters and worldwide refineries are being modified to de-sulferize bunker fuel per the MARPOL specifications. Naturally changing ALL the world's Ocean Going Vessels, OGVs, and refineries will take a bit longer, but it will be a positive and comprehensive solution when adopted, and apply everywhere.. The MARPOL Treaty is being enforced, under the threat of losing marine insurance, so there is no escape by flying a Panamanian or Liberian flag of convenience. All shipping concerns worldwide are, (or being forced into ),adopting the pollution abatement technology and new cleaner fuels designed to operate with the new pollution equipment. Plenty of engineering effort is going on to insure that marine diesels bothj function well and with out losing efficiency, with their new equipment and fuels. CARBites are genuine morons. I do wish you liberals would just once understand the real issues; and not sign on to the latest Demagogy. But if you did, I surmsie, you wouldn't BE a liberal. PS: No CARB did NOT start the EV revolution. They still wish for, still pine for, and still mandate, with their "Gold STAR " program, fossil fuel powered, and non viable, Fuel Cell Vehicles and NOT EVs, PHEVs or HEVs..
          Ziv
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dan Frederiksen
          And that was the reason I pointed out that the good shipping companies would use cleaner fuel near California? Get a grip, Dan. I was pointing out one law none of us can break, the Law of Unintended Consequences. Whenever we make a decision to act, we have to accept that there will consequences both intended and unintended. The stronger the action, the stronger the consequences, both intended and unintended. In this case, as I pointed out, the marginal shipping companies will only make the shift in destination when it is financially possible, and that won't be the majority of shipping by any stretch of the imagination. But it will happen in some cases because shifting from cheap dirty fuel to marginally more expensive cleaner fuel does carry a cost, and people and businesses will frequently seek to minimize cost, if possible. If there was a thoughtless post here, Dan, your knee jerk response might be the most noticeable one. And if anyone is to be credited with starting the current electric car boom, it would have to be George W. Bush, not CARB. CARB tried to mandate electric cars back when batteries were expensive and heavy, and the EV1 and the RAV4 EV were too expensive to sell profitably. George W and congress realized that enough progress had been made by 2007 and voila! The modern electric car was inspired by a Pres better known for his Texas roots than his green credentials! LOL! http://www.thecarconnection.com/news/1060552_george-w-bush-father-of-the-modern-electric-car
          Rotation
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dan Frederiksen
          Uh stas, you say it's bad when CARB wants ships to use ULSD but good when MARPOL says they must use it. Where does that come from? And if using ULSD means engines will be destroyed, then I guess MARPOL will be destroying a lot more engines than CARB will. Also, CARB's program isn't' "gold STAR", it's "STAR".
        Rotation
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ziv
        Great. Pollution has a cost. If the companies don't want to pay to cover it, let the other countries pay the cost of what the pollution does to them. The goods will be brought in elsewhere and trucked to L.A. and San Diego on trucks which have to meet stricter regulations than these ships would be avoiding.
        Ryan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ziv
        What state would that be? Oregon? Washington? Both are pretty green and still lack the ports that LA, San Fran, and San Diego have. Bringing stuff into Mexico or Alaska would take a lot longer, and be more expensive than delivering it to LA where people want to live. And CA can fine imports for trying to get around their simple regulations that help improve life for other people in society.
          RJC
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ryan
          Exactly. All factually stated.
        akos83
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ziv
        Heh! Bush was always a TOOL,but looks like he still managed to fool you."Father of the modern electric car"-God Ol'mighty! This fine should be 10 x bigger,to be effective.Dont worry-no shipping company will abandon California,because of this 'punny little' fine.
          Harry
          • 3 Years Ago
          @akos83
          Akos, the riff on W. was a joke, hence the LOL close. But todays BEV's and EREV's are showing up now in large part due to a bill that he signed, so he does get some credit, even thought the bill was not his to start with and the new, cheaper battery prices had little to do with the bill and almost everything due to the maturation of battery tech over time. California's well known anti-business stance is already driving business's away from California, hence the second highest unemployment of any state in the US.
      winc06
      • 3 Years Ago
      The annual cost of an additional seaman. Yeah, that fine scares the hell out of the shipping company. Ooooh.
      Levine Levine
      • 3 Years Ago
      Desperate insolvent California is using another tactic to raise money. It won't be long when international shipping conduct all its shipping business in other ports.
        JakeY
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Levine Levine
        Carb isn't stupid. The fine only has to be large enough to make it uneconomical to violate it (meaning more than the money saved from not switching before going to port). However, this kind of fine is still much less costly than trying to find ports in other states that provides the same level of convenience (a lot of shipping is centered around California and a lot of the recipients are in California given California's huge economy). I doubt finding another port and switching to land or air transport is going to be anywhere near as cost effective as just paying the fine even if CARB sets it multiple times this amount (esp. if you consider how many tens of thousands of tons of cargo these ships carry each time).
        RJC
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Levine Levine
        Just wish another port into existence? It doesn't work that way. Historically, huge centers of trade are ALWAYS built around natural bays. He who controls the port will always dictate the rules. It worked for commerce hundreds of years ago, and it'll work just fine today.
        midlvl
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Levine Levine
        where?
      dan
      • 3 Years Ago
      that low sulpher fuel is hard on the diesel engines and wreaks havoc with the extra maintenance costs. it's cheaper to pay the fine rather than risk losing power at sea.
      EVnerdGene
      • 3 Years Ago
      Ziv - good point. I'd also guess that with only 250 inspections out of thousands of ships docking at the Port(s) of Long Beach / LA each year, that it is cheaper to continue using the bunker gunk, than to retrofit another tank. A gamble worth taking. check these same guys the next time they're in LA - is that discriminating? Ohhhhhh, we wouldn't want doo dat.
      Actionable Mango
      • 3 Years Ago
      What does this have to do with autos? Did I accidentally open www.green.containershipblog.com?
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        They were out of press releases and ads disguised as blog posts..
        Marco Polo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        ABG, is quite rightly assuming that a readership interested in reading about green auto technology, would be interested in the environmental impact of other form of transport. An ABG reader who possess enough interest in the environment and is prepared to pay the extra to purchase an EV as personal transport might also be outraged to discover that two container ships delivering ICE vehicles contribute as much pollution as the entire world wide production of ICE vehicles annually, ! If that doesn't interest you, then I am baffled as to your interest in the 'green' of Autoblog Green?
          Actionable Mango
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          I'm here to read about green autos. The purpose of the blog is right in the name. Granted, a story about passenger trains, light rail, subways, or some such might be related to autos in that they are direct alternatives to autos. I could even see a story about container ships adding sails, hybrid motors, or solar panels as tech that's related to green autos. But a story about large container ships getting fined for using dirty fuel isn't really related at all. It's a slippery slope from there to talk about anything "environment" and there are plenty of places to go for those stories. I like the auto-related focus here.
      Danaon
      • 3 Years Ago
      California won't learn their lesson until 2014, when the Panama Canal widening is done. Once they lose about 70% of their traffic (in addition to the 40% they've already lost in the last couple years) to Houston maybe they will rethink stupid laws like this. Probably not, they'll just raise taxes on the 3 remaining businesses in California to make it up. What a banana republic.
        Robdaemon
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Danaon
        Spoken like someone who doesn't live near California's coast.
        paulwesterberg
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Danaon
        According to this website: http://www.abpanama.com/about-panama/panama-canal-fee.php container ships often pay upwards of $200,000 to pass through the panama canal.
        RJC
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Danaon
        40% loss? References? From where I stand, the 710 freeway is jammed 24 hours a day with container rigs and the increase of warehouses in the area storing goods for distribution to the rest of the nation says otherwise. I would believe a 40% increase in goods traffic is more likely.
      goodoldgorr
      • 3 Years Ago
      I said to convert these exhausts from these ships to methanol or green algae farming.
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