IMO delays emissions rules for diesel yachts

The following is the text of a news release from the National Marine Manufacturers Association:

(CHICAGO) — After years of negotiations, NMMA and ICOMIA have worked successfully with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to secure a five-year delay to the implementation of a U.S. EPA-sponsored amendment that would have required diesel-powered recreational vessels over 24 meters (approximately 78 feet) to install emission control after treatment. The U.S. amendment proposed a 2016 implementation date for all vessels. The IMO is the United Nations' agency responsible for maritime safety and preventing pollution from ships.

EPA, seeking to influence the emission requirements of international vessels traveling into U.S waters, proposed the original requirements. EPA had previously finalized catalyst-based diesel regulations, but those only apply to ships sold in the U.S. and didn't include recreational yachts. By working with IMO, EPA hoped to control emissions not only from vessels sold in the U.S., but from those that enter U.S. waters.

NMMA and ICOMIA lobbied hard for the delay because of the technical and economic challenges that a catalyst-based rule for recreational yachts would impose. The size of a catalyst often requires a re-design of the boat’s engine compartment. In addition, diesel catalyst requires urea, an ammonia solution not stored at marinas frequented by recreational yachts. Recreational yachts are insignificant contributors of emissions and their benefit is not supported by the cost of the rule.

The rule would have applied to all ships and recreational boats, internationally. However NMMA and ICOMIA, working with the U.S. and Marshall Island representative on IMO and others, helped support an amendment to this proposal that delays the rule for recreational vessels for five years, providing the necessary time for yacht builders and engine manufacturers to properly prepare. The five-year delay that IMO adopted last week sets a reasonable implementation date for recreational yachts as Jan. 1, 2021.

By Professional Mariner Staff