This is a really important first step to reducing the health risks for Sydney-siders and we now need as many people as possible to show your support for the regulation by making a comment. You can read the draft regulation and provide your feedback before Monday 15th June 2015, by following this link.
WHAT DOES THE REGULATION DO?
In summary, the draft regulation requires cruise ships in Sydney Harbour to use low-sulphur (0.1%) diesel fuel at berth from 1 October 2015 and in all NSW Ports from 1 July 2016.
So initially, cruise ships at berth will be required to switch to low-sulphur fuel within an hour of arrival for the period up to an hour before departure. After 1 July 2016 cruise ships will be required to burn low sulphur fuel in all NSW Ports, including when they are manoeuvring through Sydney Harbour between the Heads and the cruise terminals, and for the whole time they are at berth.
It is community pressure which has ultimately brought about this new regulation and the drafting of the regulation has been fast-tracked since Minister Stokes made the announcement in late March. The important thing is that all main engines will be required to run low sulphur fuel by the beginning of the next cruise season – this is a big win for us.
WE NEED YOUR HELP!
It’s important that we let the government know just how much community support there is for this strong initiative to bring our NSW fuel regulations in line with other developed countries. We urge you all to make a comment supporting the draft regulation at the EPA website.
NEXT STEP - SHORE POWER
The use of low-sulphur fuel will significantly reduce the emissions of sulphur dioxide into the air we breathe and thus reduce some of the health risks. However a number of dangerous and carcinogenic pollutants will continue to be emitted in large volumes including nitrogen oxides, benzene, toluene, formaldehyde and particulate matter (although PM will be reduced a little by low-sulphur fuel, it will still be emitted).
This is why we also need a solution such as shore power which will address these remaining pollutants as well as address the noise and vibration issues, by allowing the main engines to be turned off completely whilst at berth.