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IMO working group meets to develop guidelines for sulphur cap implementation

Intersessional meeting is under the auspices of the Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR).



IMO headquarters in London. Image credit: International Maritime Organization (IMO) Flickr CC BY 2.0


Updated on 10 Jul 2018 06:53 GMT

An IMO working group is meeting this week (July 9-13) to develop guidelines to support the consistent implementation of the 0.5 percent cap on the sulphur content marine fuel from January 1, 2020.

The intersessional meeting is under the auspices of the Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR).

Issues to be covered include a guidance on preparatory and transitional issues, including a guidance on ship implementation planning for 2020; the impact on fuel and machinery systems resulting from new fuel blends or fuel types; verification issues and control mechanism and actions, including port State control and in-use fuel oil samples; a standard reporting format for fuel oil non-availability; and safety implications relating to the option of blending fuels.

Additionally, the meeting is to consider proposals for amendments to the MARPOL Convention on the prevention of pollution from ships (MARPOL Annex VI) to provide a unified verification procedure and test method for fuel oil used by vessels, including the provision of a regulatory definition of 'sulphur content', the verification procedure to be used when testing fuel oil used by ships and the standard for testing the fuel oil.

IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 72) in April instructed the intersessional meeting to report directly to MEPC 73 in October this year, on the development of the guidance on ship implementation planning for 2020.

MEPC 73 is expected to approve this guidance and issue it, in order to provide the industry with over a year to apply it before the 2020 limit becomes effective.

At the last PPR meeting (PPR5), held on February 5-9, delegates agreed draft amendments to MARPOL Annex VI to prohibit the carriage of non-compliant fuel oil, such that the sulphur content of any fuel oil used or carried for use on board ships shall not exceed 0.5 percent.

The exception would be for ships fitted with exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS), or scrubbers, which are already permitted under regulation 4.1 of MARPOL Annex VI.

As Bunker Index previously reported, it was agreed in April at the last IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee meeting (MEPC 72), that PPR should develop a ban on heavy fuel oil use and carriage for use by ships in the Arctic at its next session, in February 2019 (PPR6).






Related Links:

PPR6 to develop Arctic HFO ban as nations urge 2021 implementation
Iceland mulls HFO ban options in territorial waters
NGOs call out PPR's 'lack of commitment' towards black carbon
IMO a step closer towards enforcing global sulphur cap
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