IMO looks set to introduce ban on ships carrying high-sulphur fuel

IMO looks set to introduce ban on ships carrying high-sulphur fuel

On 25 October The International Maritime Organization (IMO) will decide whether to ban the carriage of high-sulphur fuels, The Loadstar has learned.

Amendments to Marpol Annex VI were approved in April, during the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 72), and would prohibit the carriage of  fuels that don’t comply with the IMO’s 2020 low-sulphur regulations.

The amendments are expected to be formally implemented at this week’s MEPC 73.

In effect, this means any vessel carrying high-sulphur fuel oil (HSFO), such as the heavy fuel oil (HFO) containerships commonly burn, in special environmental zones would be considered to have breached the 2020 regulations.

A source told The Loadstar this would mean vessels would not be permitted to carry HSFO unless equipped with scrubber technology.

Trident Alliance chairman Roger Strevens told The Loadstar this would be a major step forward for health, environmental and fair competition interests.

It would make a powerful enforcement tool and send a clear signal of IMO’s commitment to the full implementation of the 2020 global 0.5% sulphur cap.

“The carriage ban strengthens the hand of enforcement because they would not have the burden of having to prove where or when a non-compliant fuel had been used,” said Mr Strevens. “Just the fact of the fuel being on the ship could be sufficient grounds to establish a breach had occurred.”

According to the International Bunker Industry Association (Ibia), a decision to adopt would mean the carriage ban would take effect on 1 March 2020, two months after the new regulations.

“A number of countries argued for deferring the carriage ban, due to uncertainty about the availability of compliant fuels and concerns about safety of the fuels on offer,” said Ibia.

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