6/2018—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[1] when at berth in the Port of Sydney Harbour.

This supersedes marine notice 2016/21.

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

[1] ‘Cruise vessel’ means a vessel not having a cargo deck, designed exclusively for carriage of over 100 passengers in overnight accommodation.


AMSA is issuing directions that require cruise vessels capable of accommodating more than 100 passengers that are berthing in Sydney Harbour to limit sulphur emissions by using low sulphur fuel or an alternative measure that achieves an equivalent outcome, specifically:

A. using fuel with a sulphur content not exceeding 0.10% mass per cent concentration (0.10% m/m), or

B. using an exhaust gas cleaning system, certified and approved in accordance with the International Maritime Organization Guidelines for Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems 2015, or

C. using a power source external to the vessel, or

D. using a combination of any of the above measures.

AMSA issues these Directions and requirements under subsection 246(1)(b) of the Navigation Act 2012 to the master or owner of each ship subject to the policy. The limit on sulphur emissions is applicable from one hour after the vessel’s arrival at berth until one hour before the vessel’s departure.


AMSA expects and will require that masters and operators comply with Directions. The penalties for not complying are substantial.

The Direction allows AMSA to 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.

Download Limitation of sulphur emissions from cruise vessels while at berth in Sydney Harbour—marine notice 2018/6 (PDF 190 KB)  PDF189.31 KB

Gary Prosser
Deputy Chief Executive Officer
Australian Maritime Safety Authority
GPO Box 2181

Last updated: 26 August 2019