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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Starting today ocean-going ships off California's coast must use clean fuel

Starting today ocean-going ships off California's coast must use
clean fuel

Requirement will reduce exhaust and annually prevent thousands
of premature deaths

SACRAMENTO: Beginning today, July 1, all ocean-going vessels
within 24 nautical miles of California's coastline must use
cleaner burning diesel fuel in order to comply with a new state
regulation aimed at reducing the emissions of oxides of sulfur
and nitrogen and diesel particulate matter, a known carcinogen.

The requirement, adopted in 2008, will annually affect nearly
2,000 ocean-going vessels, both U.S. flagged and foreign-flagged,
visiting California. The vessels will have to use lower-sulfur
marine distillates rather than the highly polluting heavy-fuel
oil often called bunker fuel.

"This comparatively simple switch for ships will have huge
benefits for Californians," said Air Resources Board Chairman
Mary D. Nichols. "People living along the coast will see benefits
overnight: cleaner air and better health."

Using the cleaner fuels will be phased in, but significant
emission reductions will be immediate. Initially, 13 tons-per-day
of toxic particulate matter emitted from the vessels' diesel
engines will be eliminated. Reductions will increase as the fuel
sulfur content is progressively lowered through the regulation's

Today's switch will eliminate about a 75 percent of the diesel
PM, over 80% of the sulfur oxides and 6 percent of the nitrogen
oxides. In 2012, when the very low sulfur fuel is required,
reductions of diesel particulate matter will be 15 tons daily, an
83 percent reduction compared to uncontrolled emissions. Sulfur
oxides will be reduced by 140 tons daily, a 95 percent reduction
and nitrogen oxides will be reduced by 11 tons per day, a 6
percent reduction.

Reducing ship exhaust will eliminate an estimated 3,600
premature deaths between 2009 and 2015 and lower the cancer risk
by over 80 percent. In addition, the emission reductions will
assist the South Coast Air Quality Management District meet its
2014 federal clean air requirements for fine particulate matter.
The reductions are also needed for ARB to achieve its targeted 85
percent reduction of diesel PM by 2020.

Air board representatives explain that the regulation is
extremely cost effective. The fuel is readily available and
complying with the regulation would typically add $30,000 to a
California port visit, roughly one percent of the typical fuel
costs for a vessel crossing the Pacific Ocean. The shipping
industry maintains that a typical voyage for a container vessel
from Asia to U.S. west coast costs a company two to three million
dollars. For a container ship with consumer products, this cost
increase equates to an extra 12.5 cents in the cost of a plasma
TV. For a cruise ship passenger, using industry's numbers, this
would add about $15 to a fare.

Diesel exhaust contains a variety of harmful gases and over 40
other known cancer-causing substances. Currently, diesel PM
emissions from ocean-going vessels expose over seven million
people in California to high cancer risk levels in excess of 100
in a million for lifetime exposures.

In 2000, the ARB developed its Diesel Risk Reduction Plan that
set the goal of cutting diesel emissions by 85 percent by 2020.
The plan includes a series of measures designed to achieve that
goal. As part of that plan the Board has adopted measures that
require the use of low sulfur diesel fuel in most applications
statewide, tighter tailpipe limits on in-use diesel trucks and
buses and to control emissions from port equipment and ships
operating in California waters.

Go to online version for a map showing California populations at
risk from uncontrolled emissions from ocean going vessels:

For more information on the new regulation covering vessels go
here: .

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