Proposal for a Council Decision establishing the position to be taken in HELCOM and IMO concerning the designation on the Baltic Sea as Nitrogen Oxyde Emissions Control Area (NECA). The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and its International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships provide for the possibility to designate emission control areas, in order to reduce air pollution from shipping, at the request of the riparian States of the area concerned. A North American NECA has already been agreed and in the EU, a Baltic Sea NECA. NECA provisions will enter into force in 2016, and will apply only to ships built after that date entering a NECA.
As part of the NECA submission preparation, HELCOM performed a comprehensive analysis to estimate NOx emissions from ships operating in the Baltic and their impact. The designation of the Baltic Sea as a NECA is expected to result in a reduction of 16% of NOx emissions from shipping in 2020 and 46% in 2030. It is expected that all ships will meet NECA requirements in the Baltic only around 2040-50, with a third equipped by 2030. The costs and benefits of the Baltic Sea NECA will therefore accrue gradually, due to the relatively slow replacement rate of ships, which varies by vessel type.
The Baltic NECA will be an important contribution to the reduction of air pollution, especially as several Member States in the Baltic Sea region do not meet the emission standards set by the Ambient Air Quality Directive. It will in addition result in health benefits and reduced eutrophication, one of the major environmental challenges faced by the Baltic Sea, as well as a diminished acidification and ozone formation. Investment costs are mitigated due to some ship-owners having already opted to equip their new ships with NECA compliant engines to enable their ships to enter the North American NECA. In these cases, only additional operating costs arise, and will result a in a gradual increase, until 2040-50, of costs of maritime transport in the Baltic Sea.
Further information on the costs and benefits of the Baltic Sea NECA for the EU stems from the Impact Assessment accompanying the Commission’s 2010 proposal for the revision of Directive 1999/32 as regards sulphur content in marine fuels1. According to this document, benefits associated with full IMO compliance are at least between €3 and €13 for every €1 spent2. The benefit/cost ratio associated with the designation of the Baltic Sea as Emission Control Area is considered highly favourable. Available technologies to reduce NOx emissions from shipping are exhaust gas recycling (EGR), LNG and specific catalytic reduction (SCR). Full contents of this document is available here: