2015 will see the convention of marine pollution come into effect which is likely to result in drastic changes to the ferry industry across the Channel, Baltic and North Sea.
The regulations have been created in order to reduce the amount of pollution caused by the shipping industry. Currently most ships across the world use untreated fuel which contains 2-3% sulphur dioxide in the emissions which causes acid rain, currently The Channel, North and Baltic seas have a smaller limit of just 1% however the new regulations mean this limit will be a tiny 0.1% only possible by changing the fuel.
The Marpol Annexe VI will therefore be achieving its aim of cutting pollution caused by ships in the seas surrounding Europe to a significant degree but this will have several knock on effects that will be felt, not only be ferry users but the general population due to increase food and products which are imported.
The regulations will result in several longer distance ferry routes being cut and ships changing to a low emission fuel which already costs 50% more than marine fuel currently used. In addition the increased demand almost certainly result in the fuel further increasing in price and even shortages if oil companies cannot keep up with the new levels of demand.
Such huge increases in cost will be difficult for the shipping companies to absorb so when it comes to the ferry fares to France and other European destinations prices will ultimately increase. The several longer routes which are expected to be cut will also result in passengers having to take a ferry to the main ports then drive further to their ultimate destination using fuel of their own, once again increasing the overall cost of the holiday.
Both P&O and DFDS Seaways have released statements on the changes warning passengers about the soaring cost of ferries when the regulations come into place in 2015. DFDS predicting fuel costs will be subject to a 80% rise.