California to start additional fuel analysis from May 2021

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) staff has announced that, starting in May 2021, it will commence additional analysis of fuel samples taken during the inspection of ocean-going ships to verify compliance with the local environmental regulations.

Standard Club said that a recent update covered the requirements for complying with the California Ocean-Going Vessel (OGV) Fuel Regulation. The OGV Fuel Regulation requires the use of marine distillate grade fuel (marine gas oil or marine diesel oil) with a maximum sulphur level of 0.1% while operating within 24nm of the California coast. Significantly, compliance via scrubbers is not allowed.

The Club warned that, while ships’ fuel might meet the sulphur limits of both International and California regulations, the fuel might still fail to meet the standards for distillate grade fuel, as required by California law.

According to studies the use of distillate fuel vs lower sulphur residual grade fuel considerably reduced the formation of directly emitted particulate from diesel engines.

CARB staff will therefore perform additional analysis of the collected fuel samples in accordance with ISO 8217 which will be used to determine whether the fuel meets the specifications of distillate grade fuel.