Four foreign vessels have been fined for failing to meet Taiwan’s requirement for using low-sulfur fuel oil based on a set of new measures implemented since the start of this year, the Maritime and Port Bureau said on Tuesday.
The ships, registered in the Marshall Islands, Panama, Hong Kong and Singapore, entered either the ports of Taichung and Kaohsiung. They were each fined NT$100,000 for breaching “an air pollution prevention act at international ports,” the bureau said.
The act, implemented one year ahead of the New International Maritime Organization regulations to be put in place on Jan. 1, is aimed at cutting the sulfur content allowed in shipping fuel to 0.5 percent from 3.5 percent to combat air pollution, bureau officials told a news conference.
Foreign and domestic vessels sailing on international routes that fail to use low-sulfur fuel oil when entering Taiwan’s ports risk being detained by port authorities until improvements are made, the officials said.
Citing data compiled through an investigation commissioned by the Environmental Protection Administration, the officials said that the levels of sulfur dioxide detected at the nation’s seven main ports — in particular Taichung, Keelung and Kaohsiung — in the first three quarters of this year were down 18 percent, 32 percent and 45 percent respectively compared with a year earlier.
Taiwan’s international ports also demand that entering ships slow their speed and use fully automated machinery and equipment to further reduce pollution, they added.
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