Shipping Groups Call for Realistic and Smooth ‘Sulphur Cap’ Transition

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(Image Courtesy: On The MoS Way)

Five of the largest international trade associations in shipping have issued a joint declaration pressuring IMO member states to address “challenges” they have identified relating to implementing the global cap on sulphur in fuel.

Bimco, the International Chamber of Shipping, Intercargo, Intertanko and the World Shipping Council cited the lack of a transitional period and the global availability of compliant fuels in a request for port state control authorities to give shipping companies time to become compliant.

“Through their own proposed standard implementation plan, shipowners and ship operators are committed to do what is necessary and what is under their control to meet the standards required,” the letter from the trade associations said, noting that “something of this magnitude has never previously been attempted before on a worldwide basis.”

“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.”

The group have co-sponsored and submitted to IMO papers they say will “smooth the implementation” of the 2020 sulphur cap.

Noting that blended fuels and other fuel products that are likely to be used to achieve compliance with the sulphur cap fall outside of ISO standards, the group also highlighted what it said were potentially serious safety issues. They cited the example that the use of “compliant but incompatible bunkers” could cause power loss on board a vessel.

IMO will convene in July at what the group calls a “critical meeting” in London during which the IMO Sub Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response will address the sulphur cap.

Major Issues in the Coalition’s Papers:

  1. A standardised format for ship-specific sulphur cap implementation plans that includes a list of possible compliance-related actions.
  2. A call for a practical and pragmatic approach from IMO member states when verifying compliance with the 0.5% global sulphur cap.
  3. Safety implications associated with fuels used for sulphur cap compliance.
  4. A draft standard for reporting the lack of availability of compliant fuel oil.
  5. Proposed amendments to Marpol Annex VI that would require sampling points for fuel oil.
  6. Verification issues, control mechanisms and actions.

(Source: Passenger Ship Technology)

Sea News, June 21