Prohibition on degassing while underway for inland tankers
In the Province of Noord-Holland, degassing of benzene and benzene-containing cargoes while underway has been prohibited since 1 March 2017.
Which substances fall under the prohibition?
The prohibition applies to the degassing of benzene (UN 1114) and for substances with the following UN numbers: 1267, 1268, 1863, 1993 and 3295 if they contain more than 10% benzene. This measure contributes to a better environment and cleaner inland traffic.
Alternatives for degassing
The following alternatives for degassing are available:
- Dedicated transport. This is the case when an inland tanker is loaded with the same kind of cargo, thereby - in principle - eliminating the need for degassing.
- Compatible transport. This is the case when an inland tanker's new cargo is compatible with its previous cargo, thereby - in principle - eliminating the need for degassing. With compatible transport, the previous cargo's residual cargo vapours do not negatively affect the quality of the new cargo.
- Degassing by means of a degassing installation which processes the vapours in a responsible way. Vapour processing facilities may apply for an exemption with the Omgevingsdienst Noordzeekanaalgebied - OD NZKG (Environment Agency North Sea Canal Area) to operate as a commercial degassing installation not located at an establishment but, for instance, at a public quay. Port of Amsterdam is committed to providing locations for mobile degassing installations.
Policy regulation on the ‘degassing of inland tankers while stationary (i.e. not underway) being not located at an establishment’
The Provincial Executive of Noord-Holland adopted the policy regulation on 'degassing of inland tankers while stationary (i.e. not underway) being not located at an establishment’ on 21 December 2021. The purpose of this policy regulation is to regulate the additional negative environmental impact of degassing while stationary (i.e. not underway). The policy regulation contributes to a healthier living environment and has been worked out by the OD NZKG in cooperation with the Province of Noord-Holland and Port of Amsterdam.
The policy regulation provides insight into how to meet the conditions for an exemption application. The policy regulation includes the following characteristics:
• The policy regulation has been drawn up for the ‘Amsterdam Westpoort’ area;
• The policy regulation has been drawn up for mobile degassing installations situated at a public quay, i.e. not located at an establishment;
• Exemptions can be granted by the OD NZKG, on behalf of the Provincial Executive;
• Exemption applications are submitted for advice to the Municipal Executive of Amsterdam, the Municipal Executive of Velsen, the Amsterdam-Amstelland Security Region, the Kennemerland Security Region, the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (IL&T), the Social Affairs and Employment Inspectorate (SZW), and the Central Nautical Management North Sea Canal Area (CNB);
• Exemptions are valid for a period of two years;
• The policy regulation includes operational regulations;
• The policy regulation includes notification and reporting requirements;
• The policy regulation includes grounds for refusal;
• It is always possible to grant permits for a degassing installation within an establishment.
In addition to an exemption on the basis of the policy regulation, a permit from the Municipal Executive of Amsterdam is also required on the basis of the Regional Port Bye-laws for the North Sea Canal Area 2019 (RHN 2019). The RHN 2019 stipulates that a mobile degassing facility may only receive vapours from a tanker's cargo residues if it has a permit from the Municipal Executive. This permit can be applied for digitally at the Port Office by sending an email to email@example.com
- Enforcement of the policy regulation on the degassing of inland tankers while stationary (i.e. not underway) and not located at an establishment:
a. For exemptions on all matters that take place on shore, enforcement is carried out by the OD NZKG;
b. For the ADN, enforcement is carried out by the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate and the Harbour Master of Amsterdam;
c. For all matters based on the RHN 2019, enforcement is carried out by the Managing Director of the CNB.
- Degassing while underway
Violations of the prohibition on degassing while underway can be established by administrative checks as well as by physical checks on board inland ships. Violations will be enforced under criminal law.
In Noord-Holland, supervision and enforcement of this prohibition in the North Sea Canal area is carried out by the following cooperating parties:
- The Province of Noord-Holland
- The Environment Agency North Sea Canal Area
- The Police
- The Director of the Central Nautical Management North Sea Canal Area
- The Harbour Master's Division of Port of Amsterdam
Transitional phase for the enforcement
There is a transitional phase until a degassing facility has become operational in Amsterdam. This means that - during the transitional phase - customers are informed of this.
Once a degassing facility has been put into operation, degassing of benzene and benzene-containing cargoes while underway will result in penalties. Port of Amsterdam will keep parties informed of developments in this field.
More information on what the prohibition and the policy regulation entail can be found on the website of the Province of Noord-Holland.