There is a confusion surrounding the International Maritime Organisation’s 2020 global sulphur cap and it isn’t coming from the IMO. It is all clear what the cap will mean, what it will entail and who it will benefit. The trouble is, in the slow paced ‘rush’ to accept the cap, many ship owners, operators and managers are perhaps failing to appreciate the preparations for accepting any new compliant fuels should start in 2019 and not at zero hour 2020!
Aderco, one of the world’s leading fuel treatment suppliers, has been recommending to its customers since the end of 2017 that tank cleaning needs to start no later than June 2019 to ensure they do not fall foul of the new regulations. This is the most pressing task before any new fuel blends can be introduces into their tanks and using a fuel treatment is the easiest, most cost effective and assured way of keeping a ship at sea and completing this vital task. The IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) will discuss proposals from Norway at their 73rd session in October covering implementation plans for ships to be developed according to an agreed IMO guidance and robust enough to ensure compliance by 1 January 2020. Among the proposal are for vessels to have a log of actions taken that records the first loading of compliant fuel, the fuel tank cleaning process and assessments of the new fuels on engines and machinery. This is not a task that can be adequately handled just a month before the first compliant bunkered fuel is taken on-board.
While much of the discussion about compliance with the new fuel cap has centred on scrubbers – despite the public pronouncements from some of the world’s biggest maritime players about their cost and effectiveness – it has caused many to focus their attention away from physical preparations when it comes to tank cleaning. As Olivier Baiwir, CEO of Aderco puts it:
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