Vessels flagged with MARPOL Annex VI signatory sates need to comply with the upcoming IMO2020 rule at all times, even when they are operating in waters where the IMO2020 rule is not being enforced, sulphur regs enforcement lobby Trident Alliance (TA) has stressed.

This is the case whether they are in waters of a non-signatory state or those of a signatory state that is not, or cannot, enforce the new rules.

‘’The Trident Alliance wishes to stress that the lack or failure of enforcement does not mean ships do not have to comply,’’ the group says.

‘’If a ship exceeds the sulphur limits in such areas it can still be held liable for having been in breach of the limit by another State at a later time.’’

In particular, TA says that:

  • The ship’s flag State can sanction such violations. Irrespective of where or when they occur;
  • Use of non-compliant fuel in an area where the 2020 sulphur limit is not enforced. Does not amount to valid grounds for later invoking a FONAR; and
  • Any non-compliance on the high seas. E.g. when sailing between two States that do not fully enforce the regulations, can be penalised by all other port States.

Until recently most non-enforcement scenarios have been focused on non-signatory states, but recent events have raised the prospect of a state effectively exempting its domestically flagged and operated fleet though non-enforcement.

TA says that even if this were to happen, affected vessels would still have an obligation to comply with IMO2020.

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