So, this happened:
(DNV GL) – Ships constructed on or after January 1, 2016 and
entering into the North American or U.S. Caribbean Emission Control
Areas (ECA) must comply with the Tier III NOx requirement of MARPOL
Annex VI, Chapter 3, Regulation 22.214.171.124.
Basically, that means that new ships need new, low-emissions engines in our neighborhood.
An ECA is an 'Emission Control Area' A region designated by the MARPOL treaty, one of the big anti-pollution treaties that you deal with when you work on the water. I'm not going to get into nomenclature and details too heavily- too many memories of when I had to study this shit under some real A-holes back in the day.
Anyways, ECA's are mostly about the sulfur content in boat fuel, but have been implemented to be ready to manage oxides, as well- NOx, for short, and another source of air pollution on top of sulfur.
My employer replaced the HQ's cargo pump engines (2 big diesels) with Tier III compliant engines, after the Coast guard expressed concerns about the electronic management system of the old engines. Sort of a twofer, was my impression.
The new engines were rated for the same horsepower, and had a smaller footprint. All to the good- fuel consumption is about the same. But that's the upsides. The downsides? The new engines have significantly less torque, poor performance at low temperatures, and a less able governor system- they do like to stall out more when taking a load at low speeds.
I'm not bitching here. Just the way things are. The new engines work fine, for what they are, and I'm a bit of a Luddite, anyhow. I wish they were old school turbo'd Detroit 871's or Cat 3608's, something that you fix with a hammer and a pipe wrench, you know? Newer diesels, you look at them funny, something falls off them. They're awful expensive, too, but they do burn cleaner, I'll say that.
At any rate, for the bigger picture, I get it. I like clean air, especially because working so much around NY harbor, there's not a lot of it. Every time I get home, I'm hacking up lung clams for the first day, and then it stops. I'm all for things that make that better for everyone, though I'm aware that there's a price to be paid, in cash, for the effort.