Greek line caught violating fjords’ sulphur limit

Greek line caught violating fjords’ sulphur limit

Documentation shows that the ship has entered two world heritage fjords with sulphur values far beyond the legal limit values. Image courtesy of Sjøfartsdirektoratet

Greek company Global Cruise Lines has been fined 700,000 NOK for violating sulphur fuel limits in Norway’s World Heritage Fjords.

The Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA) found Global Cruise Lines’ vessel, Magellan, to have entered two world heritage fjords with sulphur values far beyond the legal limit values.

On March 1, 2019 new environmental requirements for emissions and discharges in the world heritage fjords the Nærøyfjord, Aurlandsfjord, Geirangerfjord, Sunnylvsfjord and Tafjord entered into force. The maximum permitted sulphur limit within these fjords is 0.1 per cent.

On April 16, the NMA received notes of concern about smoke emissions from the Bahamas-registered cruise ship the Magellan, which was berthed in Flåm. These were followed up by an inspection onboard when the ship arrived at Geiranger the next day. The NMA surveyors measured the sulphur content of the ship’s fuel to be 0.17 per cent.

Global Cruise Lines is the first shipping line to receive notice of a violation fine as a result of the new rules.

Tracking of the vessel’s AIS signal shows that the vessel made ports of call at both Eidfjord and Flåm in the days preceding the port of call at Geiranger. Both of these ports are located within the North Sea ECA. The ship came to Eidfjord from Tilbury in the UK, where it left port on 13 April.

“Our documentation shows that the ships have entered two world heritage fjords with sulphur values far beyond the legal limit values,” said Bjørn Pedersen, head of department of legislation and international relations in the NMA.

The NMA will be focussing on the inspection of ships, particularly cruise ships in the world heritage fjords in 2019. Even though many cruise ship companies have invested in new, modern ships, the world heritage fjords are still being visited by many older ships. The NMA has a clear expectation that the new legislation will be complied with.

“We will have an increased presence in the world heritage fjords in the months to come, and our focus will be on making sure that the new environmental requirements are met,” said Alf Tore Sørheim, head of department of operative supervision.

“The NMA has made efforts to ensure safe and effective controls of sulphur emissions. Our surveyors are equipped with handheld devices that provide an immediate indication of whether the vessel satisfies the requirements or not. Moreover, we have invested in sensors which can be attached to a drone to detect sulphurous exhaust gases,” Mr Sørheim added.