Web Content Display


Sulphur Oxides (SOx) are emitted when marine or other liquid fuels containing sulphur are combusted. Sulphur oxides are air pollutants that contribute to acid deposition, which, in turn, can lead to potential changes in soil and water quality. The subsequent impacts of acid deposition can be significant, including adverse effects on aquatic ecosystems in rivers and lakes and damage to forests, crops and other vegetation. As a secondary particulate matter precursor, SOx also contributes to the formation of particulate aerosols in the atmosphere and therefore leading to negative effects on human health.

Sulphur directive

In the EU, SOx emissions from ships are regulated by Directive (EU) 2016/802, known as the 'Sulphur Directive'. It establishes limits on the maximum sulphur content of gas oils, heavy fuel oil in land-based applications as well as of marine fuels. The Directive also contains some additional fuel-specific requirements for ships calling at EU ports, obligations related to the use of fuels covered by the Directive and the placing on the market of certain fuels (e.g. marine gas oils).
The Directive was last amended in 2012 in order to further adapt the European Union's legislation to developments at international level under MARPOL Annex VI. Since 1 January 2015, stricter sulphur limits for marine fuel in SOx Emission Control Areas (SOx ECAs) apply (0,10 %) as well as in sea areas outside SOx ECAs (3,50 % until 2020). In addition, a 0.1% maximum sulphur requirement for fuels used by ships at berth in EU ports was introduced from 1 January 2010. Furthermore, passenger ships operating on regular services to or from any EU port shall not use marine fuels if their sulphur content exceeds 1,50 % in sea areas outside the SOx ECAs.


The Sulphur Directive stipulated that there was an urgent need for a stronger and harmonised monitoring and enforcement regime in order to ensure the proper implementation of the revised Sulphur Limits by ships calling EU ports. However, there was originally no provision for a dedicated tool to be used to cater reporting, targeting, and sharing the results of the findings of performed inspections and fuel verifications on a daily basis. After the adoption of the Directive, the European Commission (DG ENV), upon request by a number of Member States, invited EMSA to assess the possibilities of further assistance in the cost-effective implementation of the Sulphur Directive and noting the possibility of economies of scale through the use of existing infrastructure (THETIS covered by the Port State Control Directive) and supporting arrangements. Hence, Commission delegated to EMSA the task of developing a dedicated module in THETIS to serve as an EU platform to record and exchange information on the results of individual compliance verifications carried out by member States competent authorities under the Sulphur Directive.
To this end, EMSA extended THETIS by developing a THETIS-EU new dedicated module (originally named THETIS–S) users, depending on their access rights and on voluntary basis, are able to record and exchange data on inspections and verifications foreseen also by EU sulphur in fuel legislation but also targeting and alerts on the basis of predefined requirements set by EU legislation is possible to prioritise ship inspections based on risk. THETIS-EU, in operation since 1st of January 2015, has been successfully used by the EU Member States and is recognised today as a key enforcement best practice also worldwide allowing almost real-time monitoring of sulphur compliance and catalysing joint efforts towards building a sulphur compliance culture across the EU.

Publicly Available Data

Considering that THETIS-EU is a dedicated and voluntary environmental ship inspection scheme recognised by the Commission Implementing decision 2015/753 adopted under the Sulphur Directive, the display of relevant information to the general public intends to offer transparency in respect to the overall compliance with the Sulphur Directive and in alignment with EU air pollution reduction policies. It also intends to provide indications on the extent by which EU Member States and industry has so far complied with the stricter rules and assess the effectiveness of the intensified enforcement measures that EU Member States have implemented, as well as areas which may require further policy or enforcement action.
The data are presented in an anonymous aggregated form and will be updated on a daily basis.


All data published on this site and available to the public should be construed as for information purposes only. The collection of the data is a result of the voluntary contributions of the competent authorities of the EU MSs and as such may not be uninterrupted or error-free.
Therefore EMSA does not guarantee that the information is up to date at any given moment, as well as coherent or accurate.
Whereas all efforts are pursued to ensure the correctness of the information published, EMSA or the authorities reporting to THETIS-EU, shall not be held liable for any incompleteness or erroneous results presented based on the data or the calculations rendering the results.
Similarly, EMSA or the EU MSs do not hold any responsibility in relation to any conclusion drawn from the statistics presented, which may be used by external parties in publications or through other means.