On 29.11.07 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued plans for new emission standards, targeting emissions from "Category 3" marine engines, used primarily for propulsion power on ocean-going vessels, such as container ships, tankers, cruise ships and bulk carriers.

The plans are for performance-based standards for new and existing Category 3 engines, including:

  • Tier 2 NOx limits for new Category 3 engines beginning in 2011 that would achieve a 15 to 25 percent NOx reduction. 
  • Tier 3 NOx limits for new Category 3 engines beginning in 2016 that would apply when ships are operating in U.S. ports and coastal areas and that would require the use of high efficiency catalytic after treatment emission control technology capable of reducing NOx emissions by 80 percent or more. 
  • NOx limits for existing engines (those built before Jan. 1, 2000) that would achieve a 20 percent NOx reduction; these standards would phase-in beginning 2010/2012
  • PM and SOx performance standards beginning in 2011 that would apply to all vessels when they are operating in U.S. ports and coastal areas and that could be achieved through the use of low sulfur fuel or the use of exhaust gas cleaning technology.

EPA is providing 60 days for comments and has a proposed completion date of 17.12.09.

More information about the advance notice of proposed rulemaking, the timetable for rulemaking, and the government's proposal to the International Maritime Organization (which is presented as a series of amendments to Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships) is available at: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/oceanvessels.htm