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BUNKER INDEX :: Price Index, News and Directory Information for the Marine Fuel Industry
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ICS releases 2020 sulphur cap guidance

New 32-page implementation planning document designed to help ensure compliance.

Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS). Image credit: International Chamber of Shipping (ICS)

Updated on 17 Sep 2018 12:01 GMT

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has produced a free guidance on implementation planning for the upcoming 2020 global cap on fuel sulphur content in a move designed to help ensure compliance across the shipping industry.

Apart from the significant additional cost of compliant fuel, ICS says the implementation of the global cap will be far more complex than for the previous introduction of Emission Control Areas (ECAs) due to the sheer magnitude of the switchover to lower-sulphur fuel and the different types of fuel involved.

ICS also notes that there are "continuing uncertainties about the availability, safety and compatibility of compliant fuels in every port worldwide".

The trade association argues that if a ship has a suitably developed implementation plan, then the vessel's crew should be in a better position to demonstrate to Port State Control (PSC) that they have acted in 'good faith' and done everything that could be reasonably expected to achieve full compliance.

"This need to demonstrate good faith could be particularly important in the event that safe and compliant fuels are unavailable in some ports during the initial weeks of implementation," commented ICS Secretary General Guy Platten. "And IMO has provisionally agreed that Port State Control authorities may take into account the ship's implementation plan when verifying compliance with the 0.5% sulphur limit," he added.

The new 32-page ICS guidance explains that the implementation process will need to address the possibility that some ships may need to carry and use more than one type of compliant fuel in order to operate globally.

This, ICS warns, could result in additional challenges - such as compatibility between different available grades of fuel - that could have significant implications for the safety of the ship as well as its commercial operation.

While ICS notes that it is committed to helping to make the 2020 sulphur cap a success, the London-based association stresses that the full implementation picture is far from complete, and that primary responsibility for ensuring that compliant and compatible fuels will be available rests with oil suppliers, as well as those IMO member states which have collectively agreed to implement this major regulatory change in 2020.

ICS also says it wants to see more progress by governments on addressing safety issues - including "serious concerns" about the fuel quality of new blended fuel oils - at the next meeting of the Maritime Safety Committee in December 2018.

The new ICS guidance, entitled 'Provisional guidance to shipping companies and crews on preparing for compliance with the 2020 global sulphur cap', can be viewed by clicking here.

Related Links:

ICS backs IMO's zero-emission strategy in new publication
ICS urges IMO action to avoid sulphur cap 'chaos'
ICS backs zero-carbon propulsion, voices scepticism over MBMs

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