02/2024 - Limitation of sulphur emissions from cruise vessels while at berth in Sydney Harbour

The purpose of this marine notice is to inform cruise vessel masters and operators of AMSA’s policy on limiting sulphur emissions from cruise vessels when at berth in the port of Sydney Harbour.

This notice is issued as general information only. AMSA will issue a formal Direction to each cruise vessel as required. 

This marine notice supersedes marine notice 06/2018.


AMSA is issuing directions that require cruise vessels berthing in Sydney Harbour that can accommodate more than 100 passengers, to limit sulphur emissions by using low sulphur fuel or an alternative measure that achieves an equivalent outcome. The vessel may use: 

  • fuel with a sulphur content not exceeding 0.10% mass per cent concentration (0.10% m/m), or 
  • an exhaust gas cleaning system, certified and approved in accordance with the International Maritime Organization Guidelines for Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems, or 
  • a power source external to the vessel, or 
  • a combination of any of the above measures. 

The limit on sulphur emissions applies from one hour after the vessel’s arrival at berth until one hour before the vessel’s departure. 


AMSA issues Directions under subsection 246(1)(b) of the Navigation Act 2012.  

AMSA requires masters and operators to comply with such Directions. The penalties for not complying are substantial. 

AMSA may take into consideration the specific circumstances that exist if the Direction cannot be met, due to: 

  • unforeseen and uncontrolled mechanical or equipment failure 
  • the unavailability of compliant fuel 
  • unexpected delays in departure beyond the reasonable control of the master 
  • an unscheduled berthing due to an emergency.  

In any of the above circumstances, AMSA must be notified, and should be provided with the following information as soon as practicable: 

  • details of the circumstances that may result, or have resulted in the vessel being unable to comply 
  • the likely duration of non-compliance and steps being taken to comply 
  • the sulphur content of the fuel being used or proposed to be used. 

This document does not constitute legal advice and is not a substitute for independent professional advice. 

Last updated: 6 March 2024