The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) in Australia has fined Carnival Corp. $15,000 after one of its P&O Cruises ships, the Pacific Jewel, breached new low sulfur fuel regulations in Sydney Harbour, said the EPA in a prepared statement.
Carnival Australia, which operates P&O Cruises, has disagreed with the NSW EPA’s penalty notice that Pacific Jewel breached the new regulation for cruise ships to use low sulfur fuel while at berth in Sydney Harbour, according to Carnival.
The EPA said a fuel sample taken by the ship’s crew and provided to EPA officers while the ship was berthed at the White Bay Cruise Terminal on the 26 February 2016 had a sulfur level of 0.293%, nearly three times the 0.1% sulfur limit.
Carnival Australia has disagreed with the NSW EPA’s penalty notice and is appealing against the finding. They have called on the EPA to review the penalty notice on the basis that it failed to take into account available technical information that would have confirmed the ship had completed the changeover to low sulfur fuel within the prescribed time period.
Carnival Australia said the company adhered to regulatory requirements wherever it operated and maintained that Pacific Jewel was using low sulfur fuel as required while berthed at White Bay Cruise Terminal.
Pacific Jewel’s transfer to low sulfur fuel was conducted in compliance with the new regulatory regime for Sydney Harbour and the fuel transfer was fully documented onboard the ship, said Carnival.
According to Carnival, the single fuel sample submitted to the EPA for testing did not properly reflect Pacific Jewel’s successful transition to low sulfur fuel on the day in question and this has resulted in a wrong outcome.
The fine is the first to be issued under the new regulations which came into force from Oct, 1 2015. The regulations require cruise ships berthed in Sydney Harbour to use low sulfur fuel within one hour of berthing until one hour before departure.
EPA Acting Director Metropolitan Greg Sheehy said that the EPA had also issued an official caution to the ship’s master.
“The ship’s crew had started changing over from using high sulfur fuel shortly after the ship had berthed at White Bay, but the sample showed that the fuel being used in the ship’s engine during the EPA’s inspection did not meet the low sulfur fuel requirements," Sheehy said.
Sheehy said that Carnival had advised the EPA that its P&O Cruises Australia ships will start their changeover from high sulfur fuel earlier to address the problem.
With the appeal pending, Carnival Australia is now having ship fuel samples tested independently to ensure timely confirmation of the company’s adherence to the low sulfur fuel requirement.