5 Important Things To Know About Tier III Regulation

Tier III Regulation tier 3

From 1 January 2021 the IMO Tier III regulations will apply to all recreational vessels over 24m that are operating in designated Emission Control Areas. These are the five things to know.

1. What Is The IMO Tier III Regulation?


The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Tier III regulations are part of the ongoing commitment to reduce emissions and limit the environmental impact of the maritime industry.


The MARPOL convention (International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships), although adopted by the IMO in 1973, came into force in 1983 and Annex VI (Prevention of  Air Pollution from Ships) came into force in 2005. 


It is Annex VI that mandates the limits on emissions and allows designated emission control areas to set more stringent limits on SOx and NOx emissions, along with ODS (Ozone Depleting Substances , such as halons and chlorofluorocarbons) and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds).


2. What Are NOx Emissions in Tier III Regulation?


Nitrous Oxides (NO and NO2 – abbreviated to NOx) are air pollutants released by internal combustion engines. There are 3 categories of NOx standards – Tier I, Tier II and Tier III,  with Tier III requiring approximately a 70% cut in NOx emissions compared with Tier II.


NOx Tier I regulations came in to force for all vessels built after 1 January 2000 and  NOx Tier II regulations were brought in for all vessels built after 1 January 2011.


NOx Tier III regulations were introduced for yachts built after 1 January 2016 but were limited to those above 500gt. However, from 1 January 2021 they will apply to all yachts over 24m that are operating in a designated emission control area.


3. What Is A Designated Emission Control Area (ECA) in Tier III Regulation?


A designated Emission Control Area (ECA) is an area established by the IMO under the MARPOL Annex VI where more stringent standards on emissions must be adhered to.


Outside of an ECA, it will be NOx Tier II regulations that will need to be complied with.


The current ECAs that enforce NOx emission regulations (NECA’s) include the North America region and the North American Caribbean Sea. From 1 January 2021 these will be joined by two more NECAs; both the North Sea and the Baltic Sea will require NOx Tier III regulations.


4. Which Yachts Will Be Impacted by Tier III Regulation?


Currently only yachts over 500gt are subject to the Tier III regulations, however this will soon be extended to all yachts over 24m with their keel laid on or after 1 January 2021 that operate in an ECA.


As the requirement to meet the Tier III regulations also extends to yachts that pass through these areas, as well as any yacht over 24m, built before 1 January 2021, that replaces an engine with a “non-identical” engine, the regulations stand to affect a large number of yachts.


5. How Will This Affect You?


For many owners this remains to be seen. The most prominent solution currently available is the use of Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) units, however, these are bulky and heavy, taking up space in engine rooms that, on yachts under 40m, really isn’t available as well as adding weight. This in turn will impact the volume available to dedicate elsewhere, such as the interior of the yacht.


Larger yachts may feel the effects in a less pronounced way, but one thing is clear, the yachting industry is going to need to innovate and do so quickly.


To summarise: If you are considering a new build yacht over 24m, or are thinking about replacing your current engine with a larger or more powerful model, these new regulations will apply to you.


Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss any concerns you may have. 


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