MOL Fined for Emissions Violations in California

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines has paid $253,300 in penalties to the California Air Resources Board for violating the Ocean-Going Vessel At-Berth Regulation, which requires cargo ships to reduce emissions while docked at the state’s busiest ports, including Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Hueneme, San Francisco and San Diego.

The violations were discovered during routine audits of the company’s 2017 and 2018 vessel fleet visits to the Port of Oakland. CARB’s investigation revealed that from 2017 to 2018, Mitsui O.S.K. Line’s Oakland fleet did not meet the three-hour diesel engine operational time limits, and did not reduce auxiliary engine power generation by 70% as is required.

“Emissions from ships pollute communities adjacent to the port, and also contribute to smog,” said CARB executive officer Richard Corey. “This regulation requiring shipping fleets to reduce their diesel emissions while at berth has a profound impact on helping clean up air quality, especially in communities located near ports.”

To settle this case, the company agreed to pay $253,300 to the Air Pollution Control Fund to support efforts to improve air quality, and to comply with all applicable CARB regulations.

The original At-Berth Regulation, adopted in 2007, requires container, passenger and refrigerated cargo ships fleets to reduce their diesel engine power generation while docked. Power reduction requirements have been phased in over time and increased from 70% to 80% in 2020. Fleets can accomplish this by turning off their diesel engines and connecting to grid-based shore power, or by using alternative technologies to achieve equivalent emission reductions while in port. The regulation ultimately reduces at-berth oxides of nitrogen and particulate matter emissions from the auxiliary engines that power the electricity and other onboard operations during a vessel’s visit. In 2017, 87% of all regulated fleets complied with the regulation.

In August, CARB adopted a new At-Berth Regulation to seek additional emissions reductions by including smaller fleets and additional vessel types such as roll-on/roll-off vehicle carriers and tankers. The rule builds on progress achieved by the original regulation, which helped to reduce emissions by 80% from more than 13,000 vessel visits since 2014.

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