The UN's International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has received proposals from the World Shipping Council (WSC) to impose mandatory efficiency standards for ships along the lines California clean truck schemes.
Ships failing to meet new standards would be subject to fines that would collect in IMO coffers while those making the eco-grade would move tax-free, reported London's International Freighting Weekly.
"The WSC and its members hope that the vessel efficiency system proposal will help the IMO develop a specific regulatory regime that would ensure improved efficiency across the world's maritime fleet and reduce CO2 emissions," said WSC president and CEO Chris Koch.
"Such action will demonstrate the continued leadership of IMO and the maritime industry in forging progressive solutions that will protect the environment and provide an effective global response to this global issue," he said.
Proposed requirements would include the mandatory inclusion of technology that improves the energy efficiency, with a scalable capability ever ascending to meet the latest technological developments, said the report.
Older ships, while still having to meet new standards, would have grandfathered exemptions and subject to less thorough policing.
WSC membership includes the world's 10 largest container shipping companies and together with smaller firms collectively comprising 90 per cent of global container shipments.
While it may seem odd that shipowners would urge the adoption of regulations that bring on more costs, draconian green rules make it harder for smaller firms to meet rising environmental expenses and stay in business, the Shipping Gazette reported.