Transport Canada and Natural Resources Canada have issued draft rules that would amend Vessel Pollution and Dangerous Chemicals Regulations and establish new standards for air emissions of sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides, energy efficiency, and grey water discharges. The proposal would implement two international agreements relating to air emissions, Annex VI to the International Convention on the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL ) and the International Maritime Organization’s North American Emission Control Area (NAEC A). The proposed grey water and MARPOL Annex VI air emission rules would apply to navigation in the Great Lakes as well as in the oceans, and to Canadian ships wherever they operate.

The limits attributable to the NAEC A would cover ships operating within the Canadian portion of the NAEC A, which generally follows the Pacific and Atlantic Coasts of Canada, Mexico and the United States, including the Gulf of Mexico. These rules are significantly stricter than the MARPOL Annex VI rules. For example, in the NAEC A, maximum sulfur content is set at 1 percent beginning in August 2012 and at 0.1 percent beginning in January 2015. The MARPOL Annex VI rules also call for sulfur content of 3.5 percent until January 2020, and 0.5 percent thereafter. In addition, the draft regulations aim to impose similarly strict limits on nitrogen oxide emissions and to set fuel efficiency requirements on new ships. The two Canadian agencies will accept public comments until September 4, 2012.