In a world where concern about environmental pollutants is growing, it is natural for regulations about nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions to become stricter and for them to affect many industries.
As far as the superyacht industry is concerned, there have been some time consuming and delicate negotiations regarding NOx emission limits with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), an agency of the United Nations.
NOx Tier III, which comes into effect on 1st January 2016 for yachts over 24metres and above 500GT, is considered to be one of the most stringent marine emission rules and poses a significant challenge to engine designers as well as shipyards.
However, for yachts that are over 24 metres and less than 500GT, there has been an extremely positive development which is the result of the strong and effective lobbying efforts of ICOMIA and MYBA. It involves a 5-year postponement for IMO Tier III compliance, which is now required from 1st January 2021 instead of 1st January 2016.
The industry was well aware of the pending legislation and that the Tier III emissions regulation had the potential to make an entire category of yachts commercially unviable.
The fact is that, with current technology, the SCR units required to treat exhaust gases are simply not small enough to fit within existing engine room designs and guest cabins would likely have to be “sacrificed” to accommodate them. Some sectors will need years in order to meet the challenge of developing compliant equipment and that is why the superyacht industry took action to protect those who would have been adversely affected, such as the builders of yachts in the 30 – 40 metre range.
In order to present a convincing case, three separate studies (design, technical and socio-economic) examining the specific impact of this regulation were commissioned by ICOMIA and the data collected was shared with IMO. The final result was that IMO granted a 5-year delay in order to provide the industry with the time it needs to develop more optimised solutions for Tier III compliant installations on these yachts.
The successful adoption of the amendment is proof that the superyacht industry possesses a strong voice and uses it to drive awareness and change at the highest level. Working together was how the case was won.
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