A final reminder for the effective date of stricter sulphur standards in emission control areas (ECAs) was issued by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) on Tuesday.
"Ships trading in designated ECAs will have to use on board fuel oil with a sulphur content of no more than 0.10% from January 1, 2015, against the limit of 1.00% in effect up until December 31, 2014," it said.
According to IMO, the stricter rules come into effect under the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from ships (MARPOL) Annex VI, specifically under regulation 14.
The section covers the emissions of sulphur oxides (SOx) and particulate matter from ships.
All ECAs, specifically areas in the Baltic Sea, North Sea, North America, and US Caribbean will be subjected to the change.
"Ships may also meet the SOx requirements by using gas as a fuel or an approved equivalent method, for example, exhaust gas cleaning systems or 'scrubbers'," the maritime organisation said.
The current limit for sulphur content of fuel oil outside the ECAs is 3.50% but will fall to 0.50% on and after January 1, 2020 subject to a review.
The review, to be completed by 2018, will cover the availability of the required fuel oil to meet the 0.50% sulphur limit.
Depending on the outcome of the review, the 2020 date could be deferred to 2025.