The Commission approved amendments to an existing Finnish scheme supporting investment in cleaner ships. These amendments are aimed at giving ship-owners an incentive to use less polluting fuel. The existing scheme was authorized by the Commission in 2011. The amendments notified by the Finnish authorities adapt the existing scheme to more rigid rules of the new Sulphur Directive regarding the sulphur limits in the marine fuel, which will be applied as of 1 January 2015 in the Sulphur Emission Control Area (“SECA”) including the English Channel, the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. In particular, the amendments allow, under certain conditions, to finance the acquisition of new ships or the adaptation of old ships, provided that they operate under stricter environmental standards than the current EU standards. The Commissions held that the aid provides a real incentive and is to be deemed as a necessary measure in order to achieve the objective to advance the use of less polluting fuel in ships. Furthermore, the Commission found that no aid will be granted after the new SECA standards enter into force. Thus, the Commission concluded that the scheme is in line with the EU Guidelines on State aid for environmental protection. Source: Commission Press Release 23/1/2013