The Chinese authorities have recently caught two ships running on fuel with excessive sulphur content. As far as is known, these are the first officially reported sulphur cap offenders.

Maritime insurer The Standard Club reports that one of the ships got caught during an inspection by the Chinese Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) in the port of Qingdao. The fuel was found to have a sulphur content of 0.67 per cent. This is more than the prescribed maximum of 0.5 per cent.


The MSA found that another ship, anchored in Xiamen, was also using fuel that did not conform to the new sulphur regulation. Remarkably, the ship had been at berth for six days after switching to low-sulphur fuel.

The insurer reports that the emissions nevertheless exceeded the permitted limits, probably because a residue of the previous fuel (with too high a sulphur content) was left behind in the engine’s fuel system.


It is not known whether the shipowners have been fined for the infringements. Fines for exceeding the sulphur cap in China can vary between 1300 and 13,000 euros.

This article was first published on Nieuwsblad Transport, a sister publication of SWZ|Maritime.

Picture by Roberto Venturini.