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BUNKER INDEX :: Price Index, News and Directory Information for the Marine Fuel Industry
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ABS issues marine fuel advisory ahead of 2020 sulphur cap

Guidance covers key considerations and challenges for meeting new sulpur cap requirements.

Image credit: Pixabay CC0

Updated on 08 Jun 2018 10:23 GMT

The American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) has issued an advisory on marine fuel oil to help the industry prepare for the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) 2020 global sulphur cap.

The 44-page 'Marine Fuel Oil Advisory 2018' provides owners and operators with a guidance on the key marine fuel-related considerations and challenges in addressing the upcoming sulphur cap requirements.

"The IMO 2020 sulfur cap requirement will introduce a significant demand change from heavy fuel to low sulfur fuel almost overnight. The industry currently is debating how to prepare as the consequences of this shift are difficult to predict," said Dr. Kirsi Tikka, ABS Executive Vice President and Senior Maritime Advisor. "The ABS Advisory addresses concerns about the safety impacts and quality of the new blended and hybrid fuels that are currently not covered by the ISO fuel standard, and provides guidance on fuel selection, modification considerations and operational challenges."

In a recent informal poll of shipowners and operators conducted by ABS, 53 percent said their fleets were not yet ready to meet upcoming sulphur cap requirements.

And as the deadline for compliance approaches, ABS stresses that it is "vital" that industry stakeholders examine the available options and the impacts on their fleets.

The ABS advisory provides an in-depth technical guidance covering a range of topics, from fuel properties to operational risks to potential preparations.

ABS says the advisory can be used to better understand the implications of different marine fuels and help owners and operators make smarter decisions on the future of their fleets.

ABS notes that in 2010, it provided guidance on switching from heavy fuel to 0.1 percent sulphur fuel when entering Emission Control Areas (ECAs). The advisory has been widely used by the industry, and ABS has now updated this guidance to cover the regulation entering into force in January 2020.

The updated ABS advisory includes background on air emission regulations and evaluates several relevant fuel types and the associated impacts and operational challenges for each.

ABS also introduced the world's first scrubber-ready notation, providing guidance for owners who are planning to retrofit their vessel with a sulphur oxide (SOx) scrubber at a later date.

"By looking ahead during the design phase and accounting for possible future retrofits, owners are better prepared to cost effectively manage future regulatory requirements," ABS said.

To view and download ABS's Marine Fuel Oil Advisory 2018, please click here.

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