MGN 646 published by MCA: Engine emission standards for inland waterway vessels

MGN 646 has been published by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency
MGN 646 has been published by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency

The UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) has published a marine guidance notice MGN 646 to provide clarification concerning the applicable engine standards for vessels operating on inland waterways, in accordance with the MARPOL Annex VI requirements that apply to vessels operating on tidal Category C, and D waters, as well as at sea.

Requirements of the Non Road Mobile Machinery Regulation (NRMM) apply to vessels operating on Category A, B, C and D waters.

MSN 1837 defines UK inland water categories as follows:
Category A: Narrow rivers and canals where the depth of water is generally less than 1.5 metres.
Category B: Wider rivers and canals where the depth of water is generally 1.5 metres or more and where the significant wave height could not be expected to exceed 0.6 metres at any time.
Category C: Tidal rivers and estuaries and large, deep lakes and lochs where the significant wave height could not be expected to exceed 1.2 metres at any time.
Category D: Tidal rivers and estuaries where the significant wave height could not be expected to exceed 2.0 metres at any time.

Therefore, the legislation clearly defines the geographical extent of application of the regulations to include tidal Category C, and D waters. This is logical in the context that seagoing ships coming into port are most likely to do so on a Category C or D inland waterway. Category A and B waterways are specifically excluded from the legislation.

Overall, the UK’s approach to implementation of the Inland Waterway Directive has been to make use of the derogation in the Directive which allowed Member States with inland waterways unlinked by inland waterway to those of another Member State to which the Directive applies, to derogate from some or all of the technical requirements of the Directive, or to implement more stringent requirements in certain cases, such as additional provisions for passenger vessels.

The MCA commented, “It is considered that the NRMM Regulation does apply irrespective of the requirements set out in the derogation to inland waterway vessels operating on Category A, B, C and D waterways”.

Yet, inland waterway vessels only operating on tidal Category C and D with an installed engine rating power of 130 kW or above are subject to the requirements of the Merchant Shipping (Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships) Regulations 2008. As the NRMM Regulation applies to engines fitted to inland waterway vessels with a net power of 19 kW and above, it will therefore apply to such vessels operating on tidal Category C and D waters which are below the threshold for compliance with the 2008 Regulations.

Read MGN 646: MCA MGN 646

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