48 fuel violating boats caught last year

The Shanghai Maritime Bureau said it caught 48 shipping vessels last year using sulfur fuel that was over the limit at city ports.

THE Shanghai Maritime Bureau said it caught 48 shipping vessels last year using sulfur fuel that was over the limit at city ports, adding it would focus on inland river vessels this year.

Vessels reaching Shanghai ports are required to use oil with a sulfur volume of less than 0.5 percent. Before the regulation came into effect two years ago, ships would use cheap oil with a sulfur content of over 3 percent, which was blamed for air pollution.

The bureau said yesterday that it had carried out 541 fuel inspections in 2017, out of which 48 failed to meet the standard. Nineteen of the rule-violating vessels were found discharging black smoke.

“From January 1, 2019, all vessels entering or berthing in Shanghai ports will have to use low-sulfur fuel,” said Xu Min, chief of the bureau’s risk management and anti-pollution department. Currently, vessels are required to change into low-sulfur fuel after arriving in Shanghai.

Xu said the bureau will strengthen law enforcement against boats in inland waters.

“Our enforcement team is equipped with 15 sets of new devices which can detect the amount of sulfur in fuel in just about two minutes. Previously, it would take us three days.

“We will also try drones and online tail gas monitoring system this year.”

Xu said availability of low-sulfur fuel was not a problem in Shanghai with imported oil easily available.

“It takes time to upgrade and renovate the existing production line. Compared to other countries, China lags behind in popularizing low-sulfur fuel. What we can assure now is abundant supply of low-sulfur fuel,” said Xu.

Apart from inspecting fuel, the bureau’s other major tasks this year is to raise the efficiency of deep-water fairways at the Yangtze River Estuary.

The bureau also said there were 23 major water traffic accidents in 2017 — eight more than the previous year.

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