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 simultaneously realize safe vessel operations and environmental preservation.

Environmental Regulation Trends

To ensure compliance with the various environmental regulations in effect, the NYK Group also works to research, develop, and adopt cutting-edge technologies, make the most of vessel IoT and big data, and thereby make operations and allocation procedures more efficient.

Timeline: Environmental Regulations

2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
SOx General seas
Use fuel with sulphur content of 3.5% or less
Use fuel with sulphur content of 0.5% or less
Use fuel with sulphur content of 0.1% or less
(the coasts of the United States and Canada, the Caribbean Sea, the North Sea and the Baltic Sea)
NOx General seas
Tier II regulations
Tier III regulations
(the coasts of the United States and Canada, the Caribbean Sea)
(Adding the North Sea and the Baltic Sea)
Applicable to all vessels
Data collection system*3 IMO
Scheduled to go into effect beginning January 1, 2019

The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ship's Ballast Water and Sediments

Goes into effect on September 8, 2017

Hong Kong Convention (Ship Recycling Convention)

Adopted in 2009; would be applicable to all vessels upon entering into effect
  • *1 Emission Control Areas (ECAs) are ocean areas in which restrictions on air pollutants are in effect.
  • *2 The Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) is an operational plan for improving energy efficiency on a voyage-specific basis.
  • *3 A data collection system is used by shipping companies to report to the International Maritime Organization on fuel consumption, voyage distances, and voyage times for all vessels of 5,000 gross tonnage or above operating internationally.

Preventing Air Pollution


The burning of fuel that contains sulphur results in the emission of sulphur oxide compounds (SOx).
IMO regulations aimed at reducing SOx emissions from vessels have come into force over the past several years.
In emission control areas in Europe, the U.S., 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 looking to lower upper limits on sulphur concentration 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.
Furthermore, in the ECAs of the U.S. and Canada, vessels constructed on or after 1 January 2016 must comply with Tier III requirements. And in the ECAs of Europe, 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.

DCS (Data Collection System)

A data collection system (DCS) for the reporting and certification of data, such as fuel consumption, has been adopted, and will include existing ships.
The collection and reporting of related data will be obligatory from 2019.


EU- MRV (Monitoring, Reporting, Verification) has been adopted.
This regulation lays down rules for developing a Monitoring Plan and submitting an Emissions Report for ships, regardless of the flag of the shipping country, that arrive at or depart from ports under the jurisdiction of an EU member state. Monitoring begins on 1 January 2018.

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 enters into force on 8 September 2017.
When this convention goes into effect, each vessel will be required to have a Ballast Water Management System installed.

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.

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