Marine industry has ‘fallen behind’ on emissions regulation

Superyacht generator firm NPS Diesel says while ‘even the cheapest’ of cars have diesel particulate filters, they are not installed on all marine engines

Regulation of diesel emissions from international shipping has “fallen behind” that of other modes of transport, such as road vehicles, according to superyacht generator supplier NPS Diesel.

Emissions regulations will affect superyachts from next year

The IMO emissions regulations will affect superyachts from next year

From next year, new nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions regulations for superyachts come into force, but NPS Diesel managing director Peter van der Heijden said there was a “lack of knowledge” at shipyards about the new regulations.

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Tier III regulations will cut NOx emissions from diesel engines installed on yachts constructed on or after January 1 2016 by around 74% compared to the Tier II regulations.

Mr van der Heijden, who is also managing director at ship generator manufacturer Zenoro, said: “Legislations like these are trying to align all emission regulations worldwide. Many technologies already comply with particulate matter and NOx regulations, and the marine industry has fallen behind, it is the last in the row.”

The regulation applies to recreational yachts over 24 metres in length with GT above 500 and engines over 130kW which are travelling in North America and US Caribbean emissions control areas (ECAs). Outside these ECAs, IMO Tier II regulations remain.

Then, from January 2021, all yachts above 24 metres and less than 500 GT travelling inside the US ECAs will also have to comply with the regulations.

Mr van der Heijden added: “I predict that next year many new ECA’s will come in force, for example in the Mediterranean, so that all yacht propulsion engines and generators will have to be low in NOx emissions, as cars and trucks are today.

“As well as this, we have seen a recent trend in no-smell and no-soot filters that reduce the diesel smell and particulates given out by diesel engines, with over 50% of quotation requests involving treatment solutions. These filters have been used on cars and trucks for many years, yet are still not on all marine engines. Even the cheapest of cars are equipped with these particulate filters, so why would owners of such luxury assets as superyachts not want this benefit when enjoying their stay on their superyacht?”


The new nitrogen oxide emissions rules were agreed at the 66th meeting of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC66) last year. The IMO is an agency of the United Nations.

According to the IMO, the control of diesel engine NOx emissions is achieved through the “survey and certification requirements leading to the issue of an Engine International Air Pollution Prevention (EIAPP) Certificate and the subsequent demonstration of in-service compliance in accordance with the requirements of the mandatory regulations 13.8 and 5.3.2”.

Mr van der Heijden said: “These enforcements will require investments from both manufacturers and consumers but in all, it will result in cleaner, more environmentally friendly generators. At Zenoro, we have noticed a lack of knowledge at superyacht shipyards in terms of the IMO Tier III regulation; many require more information on how they can become compliant. The required space for this additional exhaust after treatment will require optimisation and re-design of the engine room. At Zenoro we can assist the superyacht shipyards with this challenge.”

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