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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what proportion of vessels licensed to operate in the UK ferry industry are fitted with exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS); and what registration process shipowners must follow to convert a vessel to an EGCS which is compliant with the new sulphur dioxide emission regulations for commercial ships.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate he has made of the effect that the introduction of sulphur dioxide emission regulations from 1 January 2015 will have on the number of (a) UK and (b) non-UK seafarer (i) ratings and (ii) officers employed on ships in the (A) North Sea and (B) Channel.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many ferry companies operating in the UK have announced (a) job and (b) route cuts in the last year in response to the introduction of sulphur dioxide emission regulations for shipping on 1 January 2015.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate he has made of the effect that the introduction of sulphur dioxide emission regulations from 1 January 2015 will have on the number of (a) UK and (b) non-UK seafarer (i) ratings and (ii) officers active at sea in each of the five years from 2014-15.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the efficacy of the enforcement approach that the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) will take on introduction of the sulphur dioxide emission regulations for shipping companies from 1 January 2015; and what meetings the MCA has had with other port state control authorities in Europe on this issue since May 2010.
DFDS Seaways has announced the closure of two ferry routes (Harwich–Esbjerg and Portsmouth–Le Havre) and has cited the sulphur regulations as a factor in the decision. However, although DFDS Seaways made reference to the increased cost of marine fuel that would follow the introduction of the new sulphur limit in both cases, its announcements indicated that both routes had already been in decline because of other factors. The Government is not aware of any other such announcements from other ferry operators concerning route closures affecting UK ports.
The Government published a draft impact assessment in April 2014, as part of the public consultation on the draft legislation. We received no detailed information from consultees about the likely effect on seafarer numbers, either in general or specifically in the North Sea and the English Channel, following the introduction of the 0.1% per cent sulphur limit.
Approval of an Exhaust Gas Cleaning System (EGCS) would be undertaken by the vessel’s flag State in line with the internationally agreed guidelines developed by the International Maritime Organization. To date, no UK registered ferries have been fitted with type approved EGCS systems although the Government is aware of both ferries and large passenger vessels that call at the UK that have been fitted with type approved systems. Guidance for shipowners on EGCS has been developed by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and consulted upon, with industry and others, and will be published alongside the final Regulations shortly.
Enforcement will be carried out by the MCA as part of its existing enforcement activities, under a regime of proportionate and targeted compliance surveys. The proposed Regulations would provide sanctions for non-compliance. The MCA has discussed enforcement of the new requirements with other Members of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding. The UK has also been active in the European Sustainable Shipping Forum, established by the European Commission, which is developing guidelines to help inspectors enforce the new requirements on a consistent basis.
The Government is looking at ways of helping industry meet the new regulatory requirements. We have already been successful in supporting shipowners and ports who applied for EU assistance under the Trans European Network (TEN-T) programme to help purchase innovative technologies – including infrastructure for liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkering. I propose to take matters further and identify additional options for financial assistance to the affected parts of the UK shipping and ports industries. It is my intention that this should come both from domestic and from EU sources, and I have instructed officials accordingly.
In particular, officials have already approached the European Commission to investigate the scope for State Aid in respect of ferry routes which are deemed to be vulnerable as a result of the new international and EU sulphur regime.