MARPOL-certificates and marine pollution prevention equipment:

BG Verkehr / Dienststelle Schiffssicherheit
Referat Maschine
Brandstwiete 1
20457 Hamburg

Holger Steinbock
Phone: +49 40 36137-217
Fax: +49 40 36137-204

Jörg Heuckeroth
Phone: +49 40 361 37-231
Fax: +49 40 361 37-204
Mobile: +49 171 50 57 038

Administrative offences in relation to MARPOL infringements:

Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie
Sachgebiet S 41
Bernhard-Nocht-Straße 78
20359 Hamburg

Katrin Ewert
Phone: +49 40 31 90 74 10
Fax: +49 40 31 90 5000

Emission limitation

In the face of the health implications of excessive sulphur contents in the air, the International Maritime Organization IMO decided on an early implementation of its SOX reduction plans. From 1st January 2020, shipping companies must meet the fuel sulphur limit of 0.50 % on all ships. Even before 2020, the EU had already introduced a limit of 1.50 % for passenger ships with regular service. Furthermore, a 0.10 % limit applies in all EU ports.

Compliance with the sulphur limits is verified during port State controls among other occasions. Ships that are unable to obtain compliant ship fuel and will be calling at a German port should inform the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH).

Sulphur Emission Control Areas (SECAs)

The North and Baltic Sea have been designated as Sulphur Emission Control Areas, so-called SECAs, by the IMO. While operating in these regions the sulphur content of the fuel used by ships may only be a maximum of 0.1%. The aim of this requirement is to lower sulphur emissions by marine traffic and improve the quality of the air in the ports and in the territorial seas.

The Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) operates measurement stations at the coasts of the North and Baltic Sea monitoring compliance with the SECA limits of ships passing by. If the measurements show an infringement of the sulphur limits, the BSH informs the water police in near real-time who will initiate the investigation. The BSH inflicts penalties for infringements as administrative offences provided it is not a case of criminally liable air pollution. Fortunately, 99 percent of ships that have been monitored so far used compliant fuel.

Also in North American sea areas including Hawaii as well as the Caribbean under US administration extending out 200 nautical miles from the coast, a maximum sulphur content of 0.10 % in ship fuel is mandatory (Emission Control Areas – ECAs). In addition, stricter nitrogen oxide (NOX) emissions apply since 2016.

(back to top)

Karte ECA-Gebiete