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Associations call for sulphur cap progress at IMO meeting

IMO urged to make progress on key challenges to avoid compromising safety or unfairly penalising individual ships.



Image credit: Pixabay CC0


Updated on 19 Jun 2018 07:43 GMT

BIMCO, ICS, Intercargo, Intertanko and WSC have called on the member states of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to make progress on key challenges around the global sulphur cap to avoid compromising safety or unfairly penalising individual ships.

The trade associations have co-sponsored a number of submissions to IMO to help smooth the implementation of the global 0.5 percent cap on fuel sulphur content, in advance of the upcoming meeting that will be held in London during the second week of July.

These submissions include papers on:

- a standard format for a ship-specific implementation plan with a list of actions ships may need to consider for achieving compliance;

- a call for a practical and pragmatic approach from IMO member states when verifying compliance with the 0.5 percent global sulphur cap;

- safety implications associated with 2020 fuels and their respective challenges;

- a draft standard for reporting on fuel oil non-availability;

- proposals for amendments to MARPOL Annex VI to require sampling points for fuel oil; and

- verification issues and control mechanism and actions.

Higher complexity

The trade associations note that they fully support the implementation of the global sulphur cap on January 1, 2020, but stress that the worldwide implementation of this new regulatory regime will be far more complex than the previous introduction of sulphur Emission Control Areas (ECAs) for shipping, not least because of the sheer magnitude of the switchover and the quantities and different types of fuel involved.

Whilst in 2015, ships trading in ECAs primarily changed to ISO 8217 distillate fuel oils, in 2020, as well as using distillates to comply with the 0.5% sulphur cap, many ships will be using blended fuel oils and new products which are outside of the ISO 8217 standard, the five shipping bodies warn.

Also, there are "potentially serious safety issues" with the development of new blended fuels, the trade associations observe, including those related to the use of compliant but incompatible bunkers - which, for example, could lead to the loss of power on the ship.

No transitional period

From a legal perspective, there will be no transitional period after 1 January 2020. But BIMCO, ICS, Intercargo, Intertanko and WSC note that a safe and successful implementation will require the supply of fuels, in ports around the world, which are compatible as well as legally compliant.

The trade associations added: "With the scale of the technical challenges involved and the likelihood of teething problems, it will be important for port state control authorities to exercise a pragmatic and realistic approach to enforce compliance during the initial months of the global switchover."






Related Links:

ICS urges IMO action to avoid sulphur cap 'chaos'
ABS issues marine fuel advisory ahead of 2020 sulphur cap
ICS raises concerns over 2020 fuel availability and agreed standards
IMO agrees historic deal to cut carbon in shipping sector

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