The world’s largest shipping association, the Baltic and International Maritime Council, or BIMCO, has called upon the International Maritime Organization to adopt more accurate sulfur verification procedures and an effective implementation plan for compliance to the IMO 2020 rule.

This comes as an intersessional meeting of the IMO on sulfur implementation is being held over July 9-13.
The IMO rule on the 0.5% limit on sulfur in marine fuels, compared with 3.5% now, will take effect January 1, 2020. It applies outside designated emission control areas where the limit is already 0.1%.

The introduction of the 0.5% global sulfur cap is the most significant change since the introduction of liquid bunkers as some 60% of the bunkers will have to switch from high sulfur fuel oil to low sulfur grade overnight, according to some industry sources.

“The current IMO verification procedure contained in Appendix VI to MARPOL Annex VI is a mash-up of some elements from the ISO verification procedure, making the outcome random and difficult for ship operators and PSC authorities to understand,” BIMCO said in a statement made available to S&P Global Platts late Monday.

“BIMCO and its partners firmly believe the current verification procedure fails to be statistically sound,” it added.

In this context, it has submitted a paper to the IMO, proposing ways to secure a uniform and more accurate way of interpreting results when measuring the level of sulfur in fuel oil, BIMCO said.

The aim of the proposal is to secure easy-to-understand, easy-to-implement and uniform verification procedures of test results for both MARPOL samples and in-use fuel oil samples, it said.

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