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Shipping companies fined $161K for violating fuel regulation
Law requires switch to cleaner diesel within regulated California waters
SACRAMENTO - The California Air Resources Board has fined three Europe-based shipping companies a combined $161,000 for failure to switch engines on their cargo vessels from dirty “bunker” fuel to cleaner, low-sulfur fuel upon entering Regulated California Waters, as required by state law.
“California’s scenic shoreline and coastal breezes can be deceiving,” said ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. “Cargo ships and other vessels that are invisible from the shore send their air pollutants miles inland, endangering the lungs of millions of residents. The ARB’s regulation requiring use of cleaner fuel within 24 miles of our shore protects Californians from an air pollution source most of us don’t think about.”
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 cancer rates and premature deaths associated with living near the state’s busy ports and trade corridors.
In August 2009, prior to docking at the Port of San Diego, the Beluga Recognition operated its main engines within state waters on bunker fuel, a dirty fuel oil that contributes to onshore pollution levels of diesel particulate matter, sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides. The parent company, Beluga Fleet Management of Bremen, Germany, was fined $53,000.
In December 2009, after it docked at the Port of Long Beach, Jumbo Shipping’s Daniella was also cited for failing to switch to the required cleaner fuel while operating within regulated California waters. Its parent company, Kahn Special Transport B.V. of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, was fined $55,000.
Most recently, in April 2010, the Nova Galicia was fined after docking at the Port of Long Beach for failing to properly complete switching over its engines to cleaner fuel. The Lilienthal, Germany, company that owns the ship was fined $53,000.
All three companies complied with ARB’s investigation, and in addition to making their payments to the California Air Pollution Control Fund to support air quality research, agreed to follow fuel switchover requirements and keep 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 for sulfur quantity verification.
Diesel exhaust contains a variety of harmful gases and over 40 other known cancer-causing 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.
ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.