With only seven weeks until the ban on the use of green diesel for private pleasure craft comes into force, the Revenue Commissioners have yet to formally declare to oil suppliers what changes are required under the new legislation, according to Irish Sailing.
Come 1 January 2020, marked (or ‘green’) gas oil will no longer be permitted for use in private pleasure navigation, bringing Ireland into line with EU law in the wake of a ruling by the European Court of Justice last year.
The penalty for having green diesel in a pleasure boat tank could be as much as €5,000, which Irish Sailing suggests is double the average penalty for cars.
And it adds that details of the new regime — which means such vessels must be powered by unmarked or white diesel — have yet to be revealed to the leisure boating community.
“It has been pointed out to the Revenue that some boats refuel at longer than annual intervals and will therefore likely have some green in their tanks for a long time to come,” it explains.
“It is not known at this stage how this will be policed and while it is possible to measure the proportions of white/green through a test, rather than a simple colour check, it is not known what type of checks will be made — where or when.
“The enforcement may come in at the point of sale, making the providers responsible for policing the sale of green, and we have to assume that suppliers will refuse to put green diesel in a leisure vessel.”
Irish Sailing has provided a guide for leisure boaters on white diesel refuelling sites around Ireland, as compiled by Norman Kean.
As of now, the ports of Howth, Dun Laoghaire, Greystones, Crosshaven have confirmed the switch to white diesel with two or three pumps, while Kinsale will have one or two. No decision has been made at Malahide and Kilmore Quay.
Other ports will be less convenient. Carlingford, Arklow and Dingle will have white diesel in cans, though customers may have to provide the cans at Carlingford and Arklow.
Castletownbere, Bantry and Dingle will have white diesel by tanker available “in modest quantities and at relatively short notice”, as is traditionally the case for green diesel at these ports.
Elsewhere, local filling stations will be the only available source for white diesel.
Roundstone in Connemara has a filling station within 200m of the pier, but Sligo will require a 500m walk, while boaters at Killybegs will face a 2km round trip on foot to refuel.
The advice for now, Irish Sailing says, is to “keep receipts when you fill, so you that you can prove you have ‘gone white’”.