The IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) agreed to designate the entire Mediterranean Sea as a “Sulphur Oxides Emission Control Area” (SOx-ECA) during its last session in June 2022, which means that ships – most likely starting in 2025 – will have to meet stricter sulphur oxides emission standards in the area. In SOx-ECA, the limit for sulphur content in fuel oil used on board ships is 0.10% m/m, while outside these areas the limit is 0.50% m/m. Formal amendments to MARPOL Convention in this regard, are expected to be adopted at the next session of the MEPC, which is scheduled for December 2022.
Currently, there are four designated SOx-ECAs in the world: the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, the North American area (which includes waters off the coast of the US and Canada), and the Caribbean Sea (waters around Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands).
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