Shipbuilders in China and Japan contracted up to 200 orders at their own yards before the end of last year with the intention of selling them on without having to pay for abatement technology to meet the so-called Tier III nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions standards.

Under the International Maritime Organization (IMO)’s Marpol Annex VI regulation, keels laid before the end of 2015 could be built to the old Tier II standards but keels put down this year must have upgraded engines and other abatement technology to reduce NOx emissions.