On 25 September, the European Commission announced the creation of the European Sustainable Shipping Forum (ESSF) to assess the developments towards compliance with the IMO 0.1% sulphur content in marine fuel, which are due to enter into force as from 1st January 2015 in the SECAs (Sulphur Emission Control Areas). The ESSF had already been identified by the Commission as one of the medium and long term accompanying measures of the its 2011 staff working paper "Pollutant emission reduction from maritime transport and the Sustainable Waterborne Transport Toolbox", commonly referred to as “Sulphur Toolbox ”.
The EESF is to act as a dedicated expert group bringing together representatives of Member States as well as private and public organisations to enable a structural dialogue, exchange of best practice and technical knowledge, cooperation and coordination between relevant public and private maritime industries' stakeholders and relevant Commission services in areas jointly identified. It will consist of four Working Groups dealing with scrubbers, LNG, innovation and financing respectively.
The ESSF will provide an opportunity to discuss practical issues that may be encountered during the implementation process, in particular during the transition phase before the entry into force of the new standards. The ESSF will thus also provide a platform to discuss short-term measures and will furthermore take due account of regional specificities wherever necessary.
A call for applications for the selection of ESSF members accompanies the Commission’s Decision.
Patrick Verhoeven, Secretary General of ECSA welcomed the establishment of the ESSF to assess the developments towards compliance with the IMO 0.1% requirement and added: “Not only has ECSA been actively involved in the preparatory work of the ESSF, we are also fully committed to contribute to and participate in the works of the forum and its four working groups. However we do expect the work of the ESSF to produce concrete results that will help the industry to be compliant with the IMO 0.1% limit of sulphur content in marine fuel.”
The Commission’s Decision can be found here.