Top > CSR > Environmental Preservation > Environmental Regulations

Environmental Regulations

The relationship between our business activities and the global environment

Our business activities have some broad impact on the ground, marine and atmospheric environment. For example, operating ships results in emission of air pollutants (SOx, NOx and PM) affecting human respiratory system adversely and GHG (CO2) which facilitates global warming.
When a ship is not loaded with cargo, it is in a very unstable state, so we place it into a stable state by taking sea water (ballast water) into the tank. However, this ballast water can have a major impact on the ecosystem. For example, if ballast water loaded in Japan is discharged at a loading port in Australia, there is a danger that Japanese creatures such as plankton contained in seawater loaded in Japan will damage the Australian ocean ecosystem.
Also, when a ship’s life finishes, it is disassembled at a facility specializing in scrap and ship bodies are reused as building materials or otherwise recycled. During scrapping, for example, asbestos and other substances harmful to the human body may be contained in the ship; therefore, measures to minimize industrial injuries and environmental pollution (soil contamination and environmental pollution) in ship recycling are required.

Environmental Regulations

In the shipping industry, various environmental regulations exist to minimize the burden of business activities on the environment. To properly recognize and comply with these environmental regulations is a matter of course and we are confident that taking the measures advocated for protection of the environment as shown in [“K” LINE Environmental Vision2050] is the figure that we should aim for.
Below the diagram, you can see the details by clicking the environmental regulations of each category.

Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships (SOx and PM) Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships (NOx) EEDI and SEEMP Data Collection System EU-MRV	International Convention for the Control and Management of Ship's Ballast Water and Sediments Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally-Sound Recycling of Ships The EU Ship Recycling Regulation

As of Aug.2017

Trends in Environmental Regulations

Because vessels move in all seas of the world, there are many problems that cannot be dealt with by only one country, and international efforts are indispensable. At the International Maritime Organization (IMO) *, various international conventions and regulations are considered and effectively adopted.
* International maritime organization (International Maritime Organization) was established in 1958 as a specialized agency of the United Nations to promote international cooperation on maritime affairs, such as ship safety and prevention of marine pollution from ships.

Air Pollution

Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships (SOx and PM)

IMO's "Regulations for the prevention of air pollution from Ships" (MARPOL Annex VI) came into effect in 2005 and thereafter was determined to gradually reduce sulfur content in fuel oil in 2008. Under this regulation, after 2020, you will need measures that either use fuel oil with a sulfur content of less than 0.5% in global operations or to clean the exhaust gas discharged outside the ship with an exhaust gas scrubber.

Effective date



After 19th May 2005

less than 4.5%

less than 1.5%

After 1st July 2010

Less than 1.0%

After 1st Jun. 2012

less than 3.5%

After 1st Jun. 2015

Less than 0.1%

After 1st Jun. 2020

Less than 0.5%

* North America, North America Caribbean Sea, North Sea and Baltic Sea are designated as Emissions Control Areas.

Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships (NOx)

This regulation, which came into force in 2005, aims to reduce NOx emissions from ships. The subject of this regulation is diesel engine whose rated output exceeds 130kw to be installed in newly-built ships. Thereafter, in 2008, it was revised so that regulations will be gradually strengthened from Tier 1 to Tier 3.

Tier 1 (Ships built in 2000~2010) : Set reference line against engine rated speeds.
Tier 2 (Ships built after 2011) : Reduce 21.8% compared with Tier 1
Tier 3 (Ships built after 2016) : Reduce 80.0% compared with Tier 1 (only ECA*)
* North America and the North American Caribbean are designated at present time, but vessels launched from January 2021 are also applicable for Baltic Sea and North Sea.
Please refer to here for our company's "efforts to prevent air pollution."

Global Warming


This is a regulation that came into force in 2013, and in principle it applies to vessels with gross tonnage of 400 tons or more engaged in international voyages.
It is defined as the number of grams of CO2 emitted when carrying 1 ton of cargo for 1 mile, and DWT (deadweight tonnage) unique to the ship is used for the calculation. At the design of the ship, this EEDI cannot be constructed unless it is below the reference value. Moreover, this reference value differs for each ship type and DWT, and it will be gradually strengthened.


Contract date of construction

Reduction rate

Phase 0

1st Jun. 2013~31st Dec. 2014


Phase 1

1st Jun. 2015~31st Dec. 2019


Phase 2

1st Jun. 2020~31st Dec. 2024


Phase 3*2

1st Jun. 2025~


*1: Some ships have a reduction rate of 15%.
*2: Currently the IMO's sub-committee is considering the introduction of Phase 4 or advancement of the start of Phase 3 in some ships. Therefore, there is a possibility that the start of Phase 3 will be earlier than 2025 depending on this argument.

SEEMP (Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan)

This is a management plan for more effectively implementing measures to improve the energy efficiency of ships during actual operation, such as deceleration operation, selection of optimum routes taking into consideration weather and sea conditions, appropriate maintenance. It is mandatory that it be put onboard. Please refer to here for details of performance management on our operating vessels.

Data Collection System

This is a regulation that monitors, reports and certifies voyage data on actual fuel consumption. It collects voyage data (fuel consumption, navigation distance, voyage time, etc.) for vessels engaged in international voyages with gross tonnage of 5,000 tons or more and comes into force in 2018. From January 1, 2019, data collection of target vessels will begin, and in the following year we will compile the data for one year which we will report to IMO after third party certification. After that we will compile, certify and report every year. IMO plans to establish the target reducing CO2 emissions from international shipping on the basis of the data compiled.


This European regulation that came into effect in 2015 is applicable to vessels with gross tonnage of 5,000 tons or more that call to ports within the EU member country's jurisdiction. This regulation obliges not only the preparation of a plan (monitor plan) for monitoring fuel consumption but also the monitoring of CO2 emissions, fuel consumption, navigation distance, operation time and cargo volume per voyage.
Moreover, this regulation obliges the verification against monitoring reports and aggregated data such as CO2 and voyage distances. Starting January 1, 2018, the target ship starts. Penalties such as forbiddance of entry and exit ports in the European region are expected to be imposed on vessels violating this system.


International Convention for the Control and Management of Ship's Ballast Water and Sediments

This convention was adopted in 2004 to prevent transboundary movements of aquatic organisms affecting the marine environment and scheduled to enter into force on September 8, 2017. Until the ballast water treatment equipment that meets the criteria of the convention is installed after the entry into force, ballast water must be properly managed in accordance with the procedures established by the Convention. Also, the installation deadline of ballast water treatment equipment after the convention comes into force is designated for newly-built ships and existing ships, respectively, and within the next few years it is essential to install ballast water treatment equipment on all shipping vessels.

Please refer to here for details on our biodiversity initiatives.

Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally-Sound Recycling of Ships

This convention, which aims to minimize labor accidents and environmental pollution in ship recycling yards, was adopted by IMO in 2009 and will come into effect 24 months after satisfying the following requirements for entry into force. When this Convention enters into force, maintenance and management of hazardous materials list is obligatory for ships with over gross tonnage of 500 tons. Also, unless it is a ship recycling facility approved by a competent authority, it will be impossible to dismantle and recycle ships.

・Number of Parties / requirement : 15 countries or more
・Fleet volume / requirement : 40% or more
・Demolition Volume */ requirement : 3% or more
* Total annual dismantling volume in the most recent 10 years by parties.

The EU Ship Recycling Regulation

With this rule adopted in 2013, EU-registered ships cannot be disassembled and recycled unless it is a recycling facility * approved by the European Commission. In addition, this rule requires that for vessels calling in the EU region regardless of their flag it is mandatory to install the list of hazardous materials by the end of 2020.
*For the approved recycling facilities, lists have been issued from the EU in December 2016. In this list, a facility for disinfection in the EU region has been registered, and at present there are no plants registered in this list in facilities outside the EU. In addition, under this regulation, if you want to withdraw an EU-registered ship from December 31, 2018 at the latest, it is required to withdraw it at the facilities listed on the list.


To read the PDF files, you need Adobe Reader installed on your computer.
If you do not have it, you can get it here.