Last week, Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson, Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources, signed new regulations into effect implementing stricter shipping fuel standards within Icelandic territorial waters. The regulations, which ban the use of heavy fuel oil, form a part of the government’s plan of action against climate change, and the government’s coalition agreement.
Heavy fuel oil is a particularly dirty form of oil that is used in shipping and emits high levels of black carbon, a climate forcing agent.
“These new regulations mean that Iceland will boast one of the strictest heavy-fuel regulations in the world,” Guðmundur Ingi stated.
The regulations ensure that the same restrictions that apply to so-called ECAs (Emission-Control Areas) – within the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, the North American ECA, the US Caribbean ECA – apply also to Icelandic territorial waters. Stricter controls were established in these areas to minimise airborne emissions from ships by placing limits on the percentage of sulphur in shipping fuel. These controls apply to a limited area within the ECAS, but in Iceland, regulations will apply wholesale to Iceland’s territorial waters.
The regulations stipulate that sulphur limits for fuel in Icelandic territorial waters – along with fjords and bays – will be 0.10% m/m. The current sulphur limit is 3.50% m/m. Vessels will be banned from using heavy fuel within Icelandic territorial waters unless employing authorised methods to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions.