Atmospheric Emissions – Vapour Emissions from Crude Oil Offloading in Terminals and Harbours


Note – VOC emissions from offshore loading are covered by the Vent Consent requirements under the Energy Act 1976 (see Venting).

Consent Needed: Harbour authorities and terminal operators within the UK who wish to control VOCs must apply to the SoS for written approval of that system.With effect from 1 July 2010, crude oil tankers must have a VOC Management Plan in place, approved by the Administration.

See Venting for further information on consent requirements for offshore loading activities.

How to Apply: Application for approval of a VOC recovery system in harbours and terminals must include the following information:

  • Size of tankers to be controlled.
  • Cargoes require vapour emission control systems.
  • Vapour emission control system to be employed.
  • Operational practices to ensure that there is no undue delay to ships and the date the harbour or terminal would like the controls to start.

For crude oil tankers, VOC Management Plans must be submitted to the MCA for review and approval.

Who to Apply to: MCA.
When to Apply: Application is to be submitted at least 18 months before the date that the harbour or terminal has applied for the VOC to be regulated.

VOC Management Plans must be in place before 1 July 2010 and will be reviewed thereafter during annual inspections.

Harbour and Terminal vapour recovery systems: Harbour authorities and terminal operators who operate a vapour emission control system within harbours or terminals must ensure that the system is approved by the SoS in accordance with MSC/Circ 585 Standards for Vapour Emission Control Systems (PDF document).

Any tanker which is subject to vapour emission control in a harbour or terminal within the UK that has been approved by the SoS must be fitted with an operational vapour collection system approved in accordance with MSC/Circ 585 Standards for Vapour Emission Control Systems (PDF document).

The owner or master of any tanker which is subject to vapour emission control in a harbour or terminal that has been notified to the IMO under Regulation 15(2) of MARPOL Annex VI shall be provided with an operational vapour collection system approved in accordance with MSN 1734 (M+F) (PDF document) (and amendment 7 (PDF document)) or MSN 1735 (M+F) (PDF document) (and amendment 7 (PDF document)) as appropriate, taking into account MSC/Circ 585 Standards for Vapour Emission Control Systems.

Sampling/Monitoring: None known.
What to Report: N/A
Who to Report to: N/A
When to Report: N/A
 N/A
 N/A
EU Emissions Trading Scheme: Council Directive 2003/87/EC establishing a scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community currently only covers power generation and flaring activities.The EU Emissions Trading Directive covers the six greenhouse gasses that are included in the Kyoto Protocol. However, for the first phase of the EU ETS (January 2005 to December 2007 inclusive) the scheme will only cover CO2. The scheme may be expanded in future phases to the other greenhouse gases.
Directive on Volatile Organic Compounds: The European Commission has undertaken a study to assess the quantity and impact of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions in Europe, and possible cost-effective measures. The conclusion of the study was that the cost of mitigation of VOC emissions offshore was high and onshore mitigation offered greater reduction opportunities at a lesser cost.
 None at present.