The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has unveiled the next step in a coordinated strategy to slash harmful emissions from ocean-going vessels.

The regulation adds two new levels of NOx standards and strengthens existing diesel fuel programmes to help reduce NOx emissions by 80% and particulate matter emissions by 85% compared to current emissions standards, according to the US Government.

The rules will apply to large ships operating within 200 nautical miles off the coasts of Canada and the US.

The EPA has proposed the rules under the Clean Air Act that set tough engine and fuel standards for US flagged ships.

The rule follows the EPA’s strategy, which was drawn up last year by the US and Canada to designate thousands of miles of the two countries’ coasts as an emission control area.