New regulations set to protect Sydney Harbour from harmful emissions

Media Release


01 December 2016

  • AMSA to regulate cruise ships at berth against excess sulphur emissions
  • Directions under the Navigation Act 2012 will mandate a maximum fuel oil sulphur content limit of 0.1 per cent
  • The change will improve local environmental, health and tourism outcomes for Sydney Harbour

The Australian Government has today announced new action to protect Sydney Harbour against potentially harmful sulphur emissions from large cruise ships.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) will now direct cruise ships at berth to prevent excess sulphur emissions.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the new directions would help protect the environment and residents from potentially harmful emissions, as well as the local tourism industry.

“Sydney Harbour is one of the world's most recognised landscapes and hosts a large number of cruise ships every year. They bring thousands of tourists who enjoy our world-class harbour, spend money at local businesses and eat at our great restaurants during their stay,” Mr Chester said.

“We welcome these valuable visitors, but we also need to regulate the presence of cruise ships to ensure we retain a healthy working harbour.

“I've heard the concerns of local residents living close to the White Bay cruise ship terminal in Sydney Harbour about exhaust emissions—today's announcement will address those issues.”

Mr Chester said he had instructed AMSA to begin the process to make directions under s246 of the Navigation Act 2012 to set an upper limit for fuel-oil sulphur content while ships are at berth.

“These directions will require all cruise ships that visit Sydney Harbour to use a maximum fuel oil sulphur content limit of 0.1 per cent while at berth, or use an alternative method to achieve the same outcome. Significant penalties apply for not complying with such directions,” he said.

“Both Carnival Australia and Royal Caribbean, the two major users of the White Bay Cruise Terminal have voluntarily complied with the NSW Government's 0.1 per cent limit, which is a great outcome.

“I welcome the bipartisanship shown by Shadow Minister and Member for Grayndler Anthony Albanese on this issue. AMSA will now consult with the broader cruise ship industry on how these rules will apply and I am looking forward to seeing the outcome of that consultation process.”