Emissions regulations delayed on diesel yachts

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After years of negotiations, the National Marine Manufacturers Association and the International Council of Marine Industry Associations have worked successfully with the International Maritime Organization to secure a five-year delay on emissions requirements for large diesel-powered yachts.

The implementation of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-sponsored amendment would require diesel-powered recreational vessels over 24 meters, or about 78 feet, to install emission control after treatment, according to the NMMA.

The IMO is the United Nations agency responsible for maritime safety and preventing pollution from ships.

The EPA, seeking to influence the emission requirements of international vessels traveling into U.S waters, proposed the original requirement of a 2016 implementation timeframe. The EPA had previously finalized catalyst-based diesel regulations, but those only apply to ships sold in the United States and didn't include recreational yachts, including those entering U.S. waters.

NMMA and ICOMIA lobbied for a delay because of the technical and economic challenges that a catalyst-based rule for recreational yachts would impose. The size of a catalyst often requires the redesign of a boat’s engine compartment. In addition, a diesel catalyst requires urea, an ammonia solution not stored at marinas frequented by recreational yachts.

The rule would have applied to all ships and recreational boats internationally. The five-year delay that the IMO adopted last week sets the implementation date for recreational yachts as Jan. 1, 2021.

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