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Marine Pollution – Answers From Governement

Marine Pollution – Answers From Governement

(a) The numbers of complaints received, warnings issued and prosecutions instituted by the Marine Department (MD) regarding emission of smoke from vessels during 2002 to 2004 are as follows:

Year Complaints Warnings Prosecutions Convictions
2002 17 4 0 0
2003 16 8 0 0
2004 18 6 1 1
Total 51 18 1 1

(b) Emissions from vessel engines are subject to control under the Shipping and Port Control Ordinance (the Ordinance) (Cap. 313). As the enforcement of the Ordinance requires marine expertise and relevant equipment, the responsibility rests with the MD. Upon receiving a complaint about emission of smoke from a vessel, the Environment Protection Department (EPD) will refer the case to the MD for follow-up action.

(c) At present, it is an offence under the Ordinance for a vessel to “emit smoke in such quantity as to be a nuisance”. The Government is considering amendment to the relevant provisions so that the Ringelmann Chart as adopted in the Air Pollution Control Ordinance (Cap. 311) will be used to determine the concentration of smoke. When the concentration of smoke emitted by a vessel exceeds the statutory limit for a specified period of time, prosecution may be instituted.

(d) As regards other pollutants, most vessels operating in Hong Kong waters use diesel or fuel oil. The air pollutants produced by the combustion of these fuels are more or less the same as those emitted by other fuel-related emission sources, such as diesel vehicles, power generation facilities or industrial boilers. The major pollutants include nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur dioxide (SO2), suspended particulates and carbon monoxide (CO). According to the estimates by the EPD, the amounts of suspended particulates, SO2, NOx and CO emitted by vessels in 2003 accounted for about 6%, 4%, 16% and 3% respectively of the total emissions in Hong Kong. In contrast with the terrestrial environment, the expanse of the sea facilitates the dispersal of smoke and vessel emissions thus have a smaller impact on the public than other emission sources in urban areas such as vehicles.

(e) To further reduce vessel emissions, the Government is considering how to implement the proposed controls on vessel emissions in the new annex (Annex VI) of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships. The Government is now consulting the industry on the matter.

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