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Collaboration with Mexico to Reduce Emissions from Ships
- Learn more about Emission Control Areas (ECAs)
Emission Control Areas, or ECAs, set strict international standards which require that ships reduce emissions. A North American ECA was adopted and began in August 2012. ECAs are also in place for the North Sea and the Baltic Sea.
What are the requirements of the North American ECA?
Within the North American ECA, ships must switch the fuels they are using when operating within up to 200 nautical miles of the majority of U.S and Canadian Atlantic and Pacific coastal waters, French territories off the Canadian Atlantic coast, the U.S. Gulf Coast, and the main, populated islands of Hawaii.The North American ECA also requires the reduction of nitrogen oxides from new ships after 2016.
Why are we implementing an ECA for North America?
The international standards will bring important benefits for human health through reducing emissions from ships.
Other EPA Work on Ship Emissions
The U.S.-Mexico fuel switch demonstration showed the human health and environmental benefits of ships switching from high sulfur marine fuel (with fuel sulfur levels of about 35,000 ppm) to lower sulfur marine fuel (with fuel sulfur levels of 1,000 ppm).
The demonstration consisted of the following activities:
- In Fall 2009, an initial fuel switching demonstration was conducted on a small container vessel of Maersk Lines traveling between the Port of Houston, TX and the Port of Progreso, Mexico. Emissions reductions were estimated based on fuel used.
- In April 2010, a second demonstration was undertaken with a vessel of the German-based shipping line Hamburg Süd. EPA installed monitors to measure stack air emissions before and after fuel switching, and calculated emissions reductions based on a trip from Veracruz, MX to Altamira, MX and finally to Houston. EPA also developed port emissions inventories and conducted dispersion and deposition modeling to show impacts to air quality and pollutant loadings to the Gulf of Mexico.
- In addition to the Mexico and U.S. fuel switches, the Hamburg Süd vessel also switched fuels in Houston in July 2010 and then also conducted a fuel switch when it called on Santos, Brazil in August. View the press release from Hamburg Süd. Exit
- EPA produced a Final Report (above) presenting the results of the fuel switching demonstration, as well as port emission inventory development and emissions dispersion modeling for several ports in the Gulf of Mexico. The fuel switching project yielded valuable emissions data to show U.S. and Mexican policy makers in the Gulf specific reductions achieved from burning lower-sulfur fuels near land in U.S. and Mexican waters.
Outreach to Mexican Policymakers and the Public
An important effort of the EPA-SEMARNAT collaboration on ship emissions is to raise the awareness of the Mexican public and key Mexican government agencies about the benefits of reducing these emissions through MARPOL Annex VI. The following activities have been undertaken:
April 2010: EPA and SEMARNAT conducted a technical workshop on the outcomes of the fuel switching demonstrations to further government and industry awareness of the benefits of fuel switching and ECAs. Explore report, news, articles and presentations from the technical workshop.
Also in 2010, EPA and SEMARNAT developed a fuel-switching outreach video in Spanish and English (see box) which is being shown at the Veracruz Aquarium in Mexico on a touch-screen kiosk. EPA expects to reach millions of Mexican residents visiting the aquarium annually.
February 2012: To demonstrate EPA’s appreciation for this partnership, EPA’s Administrator Lisa Jackson presented Minister of Environment Elvira the Gulf Guardian Award for this work.
May 2012: In collaboration with EPA, SEMARNAT launched an inter-governmental process to conduct the needed technical and policy analyses for ratification of MARPOL Annex VI and creation of a Mexican ECA. As a first step, SEMARNAT established working groups to conduct technical analyses for an IMO ECA application. After conducting an emission inventory (phase 1), the next steps will be to conduct modeling (phase 2) and develop the cost-benefit analyses (phase 3).
September 2012: EPA assisted with outreach to Mexican government and industry stakeholders through a ship emission control technology seminar.
June 2013: At the Third Environmental Congress of PEMEX, Mexico's state-owned petroleum company, EPA presented about the North American ECA. SEMARNAT presented results of the first phase of the MARPOL workplan.
September 2013: EPA and SEMARNAT launched the second phase of the work plan at an executive level meeting in Mexico City.
December 2013: The Commission for Environmental Cooperation, a North American body for US-Canada-Mexico collaboration on environmental matters, issued a Request for Proposals to carry out the remaining phases of the workplan.
Ship Technology Seminar
On September 26, 2012, a ship technology seminar was held to provide Mexican stakeholders with information about some of the ship technologies needed to meet the requirements of MARPOL Annex VI and an ECA.
- MARPOL Annex VI and ECAs,
- the U.S. and Mexican government experience,
- a shipping industry view, and
- how this environmental policy is driving the development of ship emission control technologies.
The afternoon session focused on the available ship emissions technologies and implications for Mexican shipping and economic development. Both sessions increased the stakeholder awareness of the importance of addressing ship emissions, and the available technological options to do so.
Explore presentations, agenda and information from the seminar.
Shipping Company Perspective
- Implementation of Measures for Energy Efficiency in Container Terminals (Spanish) (PDF) (30 pp, 1.37 M)
- "Auriga Leader" is named best ship of 2009 (Spanish) (PDF) (7 pp, 365 K)
Presenter: CSAV Mexico