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Govt publishes draft law to stem ship emissions

The Gibraltar Government has published draft legislation to restrict the emission of smoke from ships in British Gibraltar territorial waters.

The Bill envisages fines of up to £5,000 for breaches of the new rules. These can be imposed on the owner and master of the vessel, but also on the ship’s agent.

The proposed legislations bans continuous emissions of dark smoke for more than three minutes, with the Bill setting out definitions for ‘dark’ in line with British Standards.

It also prohibits emissions of black smoke for more than two minutes in any 30-minute period.

Certain situations are exempted from the rules, however, as are government and Ministry of Defence vessels.

For example, if smoke was emitted in circumstances where the safety of life or the vessel is in question, the penalties will not apply.

The draft legislation also sets out parameters for specified situations in which vessels may emit more smoke that would normally be permissible.

Vessels that are starting up engines or have suffered a breakdown, for example, may emit up to 10 minutes of smoke in any given hour.

The legislation has yet to be debated and passed by Parliament.

The Bill was published days after the GSD asked a question in Parliament querying the delay in bringing the law to Parliament.

Last Friday in Parliament, GSD MP Elliott Phillips echoed “deep concerns” in the community about other noxious fumes from shipping, including during bunkering operations.

The matter was beyond the scope of the original question but Gilbert Licudi, the Minister for the Port, sought to correct Mr Phillips’ assertions and insisted that bunkering was carried safely and without toxic emissions.

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