Image source does not exist News Release: 2011-09-01 Shipping companies each fined $53K for violating fuel regulation

Release #:11-40

ARB PIO: (916) 322-2990

Karen Caesar

Mary Fricke

Shipping companies each fined $53K for violating fuel regulation

Vessels failed to use low-sulfur fuel in California waters


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.

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.