China Navigation Fined for Air Pollution

The China Navigation Co. Pte., deep-sea ship owning and operating arm of the Swire group, has been fined USD 129,500 by the California Air Resources Board for failure to switch its engines over from heavy diesel “bunker” fuel to cleaner, low-sulfur fuel when close to the California coast. 

Namely, on December 28, 2012, an ARB inspector found that the general cargo vessel Chenan, managed by the China Navigation, operated within Regulated California Waters (i.e. 24 miles or less from the coast) on noncompliant heavy fuel oil on 12 separate days-four voyages-between August 5 and December 28, 2012, while en route to and departing from the Port of Los Angeles.

“Ships using heavy diesel fuels are a significant contributor to California’s air quality problems, even in communities located far from our coast,” said ARB Enforcement Division Chief Todd Sax.

“That’s why we check vessels nearly every day to ensure that they are compliant with our strict clean air laws.  When we identify a violation, we educate the fleet owner and crew on how to comply with our requirements, and we assess penalties as a deterrent to future noncompliance.”  

According to ARB, the company took prompt action after being notified of these violations and cooperated with the investigation. What is more, the company agreed to comply with all fuel switchover requirements and to keep accurate records going forward.

The Air Resources Board conducts an estimated 800 to 1,000 ship inspections each year, checking for proper fuel usage, record-keeping and other compliance requirements.  Part of the inspection involves sampling each vessel’s fuel, and analyzing the fuel sample for compliance with ARB fuel sulfur requirements.

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