Environmental Regulation

Environmental regulations will be strengthened sequentially in the future in the international shipping industry.The NYK Group ensures compliance with regulations and furthermore pursues a variety of initiatives to realize safe vessel operations and environmental preservation simultaneously.


Environmental Regulation Trends

2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
SOx general ocean waters

Upper limit on sulphur concentration: 3.5% for all vessels

Upper limit on sulphur concentration:
0.5% for all vessels (date not fixed)


Upper limit on sulphur concentration: 0.1% inside of ECA

NOx general ocean waters

Tier II


Tier III: vessel is constructed on or after 1st January 2021


For all vessels


IMO is considering


Adopted in 2004. When this convention goes into effect, each vessel, including existing vessels, will be required to have a Ballast Water Management System (BWMS) installed.


Adopted in 2009. When this convention goes into effect, each vessel, including existing vessels, will be required to deep the Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM) on board.

Preventing Air Pollution


The burning of fuel that contains sulphur results in the emission of sulphur oxide compounds (SOx).
IMO regulations aimed at reducing the SOx emission from vessels have come into force over the past several years.
In 2012, the organization introduced regulations on bunker oil sulphur content, reducing the maximum allowable concentration in general ocean waters from 4.5% to 3.5%.
Furthermore, in the emission control areas of Europe, the United States, and Canada - which are subject to even stricter regulations - the upper limit on sulphur concentration was lowered from 1.0% to 0.1%.
The IMO has decided to apply stricter regulations and is considering about when the upper limit on sulphur concentration should be lowered from 3.5% to 0.5% at sea.


Bunker oil, when burned, generates nitrogen oxide (NOx) compounds, which are greenhouse gases.
International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations aimed at reducing vessels' NOx emissions have been in effect for several years, with the Tier II requirements becoming effective from 2011.
Vessels constructed on or after 1 January 2021 must comply with Tier III requirements.

Preventing Global Warming

SEEMP (Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plans)

This requirement related to reducing the greenhouse gas emissions from ships was adopted in July 2011 and requires all vessels to retain a SEEMP on board.
Every vessel makes Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plans before the start of each voyage.
Vessel operate accord to the SEEMP and review the plan after completing the voyage.
A SEEMP is one of the tools to carry out the PDCA cycle for efficient operation.

MRV (Monitoring, Reporting, Verification)

The IMO is considering a regulation that will mandate the monitoring, reporting, and verification of operation data related to GHG emissions from vessels.

Environmental Preservation

Ballast Water Management Convention

The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments (Ballast Water Management Convention), was adopted by the IMO (International Maritime Organization) in 2004 to prevent harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens from cross-border transfer.
This convention covers all vessels, including existing vessels, and ratification is under way.
When this convention goes into effect, each vessel will be required to install a Ballast Water Management System.

Ship Recycling

To minimize industrial accidents and environmental pollution when ships are dismantled, the IMO adopted a ship-recycling convention in 2009.
With a view to the convention's entry into force, countries worldwide are progressing towards ratification.
When this regulation enters into force, all vessels will be required to keep the Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM) on board. The IHM indicates the location and volume of hazardous materials on the vessel.
The IHM will be finalized when the vessel is demolished.

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