Log in | Subscribe

Emission Standards

Korea: Ship Emissions

Regulatory Background

The South Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF) adopted two air quality programs to control particulate emissions (‘fine dust’) from ships:

  • Emission Control Areas (ECA) with maximum fuel sulfur limits
  • Vessel Speed Reduction (VSR) program in ports [4797]

Both programs are applicable to areas surrounding five major Korean ports: (1) Incheon, Pyeongtaek, Dangjin Area; (2) Yeosu, Gwangyang area; (3) Busan; (4) Busan west area, and (5) Ulsan area (Figure 1) [4798].

Figure 1. Korean marine air quality control areas

Emission Control Areas (ECA)

The ECA program defines selected South Korean coastline areas as Emission Control Areas with maximum fuel sulfur limits (0.1%). The ECAs have been adopted by the MOF under a domestic air quality program; they are not related to international emission control areas designated by the IMO.

The fuel sulfur requirements are introduced in two stages:

  • From 1 September 2020 it is mandatory to use fuel with max. 0.1% sulfur content while berthing and anchoring. Vessels will be required to use max. 0.1% sulfur fuel beginning 1 hour after completion of berthing/anchoring, and until 1 hour before de-berthing/leaving anchor.
  • From 1 January 2022, it will be mandatory to use fuel with max. 0.1% sulfur content while navigating ECAs.

Vessel Speed Reduction (VSR) Program

The VSR program is applicable to major ports (Figure 1) effective from December 2019 [4797]. The affected port areas are designated as VSR Sea Areas. Each Sea Area spans 20 nautical miles in radius, measured from a specific lighthouse in each port. Under the VSR program, ships have their port facilities fees lowered when they enter defined port areas at reduced speed levels.

The speed reductions depend on the type of ships, and differ between ports. Ships should navigate no faster than 12 knots for container ships and car-carriers, and 10 knots for other ship types, when moving from starting point to an end point within a VSR Sea Area.

Ships covered under for the VSR program differ at each port, but must be over 3,000 GT. For affected ships, port entry/leave fees are discounted. The discount ceiling differs between the ports. Container ships, for example, which traditionally enter port at relatively high speeds, enjoy up to a 30% discount, while other ships are granted a 15% discount.