...and the threat to operational heritage ships.
Once more, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Sea Breezes and in this particular case, Ferry World by Robert Straughton.
It reminded me to write and advise your readers of the threat to our operational, oil burning historic ships that are in the Sulphur Emission Control zone from Ushant, up the English Channel and including the North Sea and the Baltic. The West coast of the UK is currently outside of this zone.
However, vessels such as ss Shieldhall and ps Waverley will be forced to comply with this onerous requirement that was really aimed at diesel engine ships, without any consideration for the likes of ourselves, that burn fuel oil in our boilers. The main effect will be a probable 50% hike in our fuel costs, which can only be passed on to our travelling public.
What can be done? We could convert to coal and cause any amount of emissions, as the regulations do not address other fuels. Also, we are working through the Maritime Heritage Trust to seek an exemption but so far, little of note has been forthcoming.
The process started about 18 months ago with a letter to the Secretary of State, who in due course has passed the matter on to the MCA. We are now in the state of nothing formal coming from the MCA and seemingly, little action. A cynic would say that it is easy to “sit on your hands” until the due date had passed and then point to the regs. Should this happen, those that wish to sail on our historic vessels must be prepared to dig a bit deeper than previously, as the UK government once again, turns its back on matters maritime and in particular, maritime heritage.
Please write to your MP (in Election year) if you feel strongly about this matter.