The Air Pollution Control (Marine Light Diesel) Regulation (Regulation) was gazetted on 17 January 2014. Subject to the approval of the Legislative Council, the Regulation will take effect on 1 April 2014.

The Regulation seeks to regulate the quality of marine light diesel (MLD), i.e., light diesel oil used by marine vessels, including imposing a cap on the sulphur content of the MLD, so as to reduce emissions from marine vessels. The aim is to help improve the ambient air quality and reduce health risks for the population, particularly those in the coastal areas.

At present, the quality of fuels (including the sulphur content) supplied to marine vessels is not regulated, unlike the quality of fuels supplied to motor vehicles which is regulated by the Air Pollution Control (Motor Vehicle Fuel) Regulation (Cap. 311L) (MVF Regulation), which aims to reduce air pollution. Accordingly, the Regulation seeks to provide specifications that must be met by MLD supplied1 in Hong Kong, and require MLD importers2 and MLD suppliers3 to keep relevant records. The key provisions are:

  • Locally supplied MLD must contain not more than 0.05 percent sulphur by weight and must comply with any of the following specifications (Restriction), i.e., (i) "Category ISO-F-DMA" in ISO 8217:2012 published by the International Organization for Standardization, (ii) "Gasoil 0.05 percent Sulfur" in the FOB Singapore gasoil/diesel specifications published by Platts (which is a division of McGraw Hill Financial, New York, U.S.A.), and (iii) those specified for motor vehicle diesel in the MVF Regulation. The Restriction, however, does not apply to MLD supplied to warships or any other vessels on military service.
  • Requiring MLD importers to (i) submit monthly reports to the Director of Environmental Protection (Director), setting out information about each batch of MLD supplied by the importer in the previous month, and (ii) keep MLD quality test reports about the specifications of the MLD, and transaction4 records about the acquisition and supply of MLD by the importer for three years.
  • Specifying the type and extent of information which must be included in the relevant reports.
  • Requiring MLD suppliers to keep transaction records about the acquisition and supply of MLD for three years.
  • Requiring MLD importers and MLD suppliers to submit for inspection the above records, if requested by the Director.
  • Specifying the test methods for determining the sulphur content of MLD.

The Regulation does not apply to MLD that is goods in transit5, transhipment goods6, or solely for export or re-export. It is presumed that, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, any MLD found in Hong Kong does not fall into any of the foregoing categories.

A person who supplies the non-compliant MLD in contravention of the Restriction commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine level of HK$50,000 and to imprisonment for three months.

A person who contravenes the requirements referred to in the second and third bullet points above commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine level of HK$50,000 and to imprisonment for one month.