Stating the obvious, the 2020 global sulphur cap is a huge game-changer in the shipping industry. But for regulations to be effective, it needs to be backed up by effective enforcement. If enforcement is weak, compliance will be low and this will create a very uneven playing field.

So, what can we expect on enforcement with vessels fitted with scrubbers that will continue to burn high sulphur fuel?

There are already plenty of arguments on whether affording ‘equivalent status’ to scrubbers is skewing the level playing field, but that is a whole different matter. Some have raised concerns that it will be too easy for vessels to operate with a defective or ineffective scrubber or even with it switched off – therefore contravening the regulations – and get away with it.

The answer seems to lie with tamper-proof data collection. A vessel will need this data to satisfy inspecting authorities, such as port state control (PSC), that its scrubber is fully operational and that it was in use throughout the voyage. As ever, evidence is key.

Continue reading here.

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