An IMO working group is meeting (9-13 July) to develop guidelines to support the consistent implementation of the 0.50% limit for the sulphur content in fuel oil used on board ships from 1 January 2020, reducing from the current limit of 3.50% (the limit is already 0.10% in designated emission control areas). The intersession meeting, under the auspices of the Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR), will work on developing some very detailed guidelines to support consistent implementation of the 0.50% limit.
This will include guidance on preparatory and transitional issues, including guidance on ship implementation planning for 2020; 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.
In addition, the meeting will consider proposals for amendments to MARPOL Annex VI to provide a unified verification procedure and test method for fuel oil used by ships, 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 industry with over a year to apply it before the entry into effect of the 2020 limit.