Refrigeration and air conditioning sector |24 February 2020
Importers urged to seek advice before importing refrigerant gas or equipment into the country
The refrigeration and air conditioning sector is the single largest consumer of oizone depleting substances (ODS) in Seychelles.
In a country like Seychelles which has high humid temperature condition around (30-31C), refrigeration and air conditioning equipment is a necessity, especially in the tourism industry which is the main stakeholder.
A refrigerator/air condition unit is no longer regarded as a luxury item but instead as a necessity. It is estimated that 100% of household possess 1 or 2 refrigerators, and anyone who can afford an air-condition unit will have one. It is estimated that 45% possess an air conditioning unit, but 95% of our office buildings, and 100% of our hotels and other commercial establishments are using air-condition units
Under Seychelles HCFC Phase-out Management Plan, HCFCs, specifically HCFC 22, forms the bulk of the total HCFC consumption mainly in the refrigerant sector as a substitute to CFCs as a refrigerant gas in the Seychelles.
Though Phase-out of all HCFCs refrigerant/equipment started as far as January 1, 2018, and Total Phase-out date for the consumption of all HCFCs and HCFC-dependent equipment was January 1, 2020, Seychelles find itself on the receiving end of R-22 equipment still arriving into the country.
Since Seychelles is a small island developing state (SIDS), all refrigerant equipment and gases are imported into the country. Several wholesalers and retailers are involved in importing gases directly from other countries as per their requirement. Unfortunately, the most common import routes are from the free trade zones namely Singapore, Dubai and China. However as we have only 2 national entry points (1 seaport and 1 airport), the Ozone Unit with the close collaboration of the Custom department, we are able to closely monitor the imported consignments.
The main weakness in the monitoring of ODS (including HCFC) usage in the country is importers import before seeking the appropriate permits. However systems are in place to monitor the overall importation of gases/equipment.
Following system in place before any importation of refrigerant gas/equipment are imported into the country:
- Importers must seek a permit system from the Ozone Office (Ministry of Environment, Energy & Climate Change).
- Any importation of such goods into the country without the appropriate permits are considered as illegal.
Penalties for importing HCFC refrigerant gas/equipment
As per the Environment Ozone Regulations: as per paragraph 17 sub para 1, any importation of HCFC (R-22) dependent equipment/gas into the country is considered illegal and an environmental fine of R3000/ per piece for equipment and R300/- per kilo for HCFC gas and the equipment/gas must be reshipped back to its country of origin at the owner’s own cost with immediate effect.
All importers of refrigerant equipment are advised that they should import equipment/refrigerant gas that are allowed into the country, and seek advice from the Ozone Unit in regards to the different refrigerants allowed in the country.