Compliance to the International Maritime Organization’s global sulfur limit rule is expected to be high with about 95% of the compliant bunker fuel demand likely to be met by marine gasoil and low sulfur fuel oil come 2020, Simon Neo, regional manager Asia at IBIA, said Tuesday.
“Before 2020, things need to be ready as the date is cast in stone … IMO 2020 is final and there will be no delay,” Neo said at an industry event in Singapore.
The IMO will cap global sulfur content in marine fuels at 0.5% starting January 1, 2020, from 3.5% currently. This applies outside the designated emission control areas where the limit is already 0.1%.
Shipowners will have to switch to more expensive cleaner fuels or consider alternative fuels such as LNG or use HSFO with scrubbers to comply with this rule.
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Based on its initial test, bunker fuel testing agency VPS has delivered a positive assessment of the new IMO 2020 compliant 0.50% sulfur fuels.
“Large shipowners have already been sending us the new 0.50% fuel sample test blends, which they are getting ready to use,” Rahul Choudhuri, VPS managing director for Asia, Middle East and Africa said at last week’s Wilhelmsen Ship Management seminar in Singapore, as quoted by Platts.
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Now we are getting down to the nitty-gritty of the IMO’s 2020 sulphur cap. In the months leading up to the start of this global ban on sulphur emissions the business of tank-cleaning is just one of the pressing issues ship owners and operators need to tackle. Although the regulations are determined, there are areas that need to be addressed and most importantly understood in relation to the new compliant fuels. Vessels using any of the new fuel blends available to maritime shipping from January 1 2020 will need to have more than faith in bunkering to remain compliant once the IMO 2020 global sulphur cap comes into force.
Bunker delivery notes will now need to state the sulphur content of the new fuels supplied and this is just one of the concerns for ship owners, managers and operators according to Olivier Baiwir, CEO of Aderco.
“To keep within the regulations all bunker delivery notes will have to state the sulphur content of the fuel oil supplied. This can be verified by taking samples and the International Air Pollution Prevention (IAPP) certificate issued by the vessel’s flag state (registry) will need to state that the ship uses a fuel with the accepted new regulatory sulphur content. This will need to be within the applicable limits or uses an approved equivalent method to be compliant.
As we have been saying for many months, the availability of the new fuel and its bunkering has been one of the prime concerns since the formal announcement of the cap. Yet bunkering ports which are located in countries which are not parties to Annex VI, have no direct requirement to comply with Regulation 18: ship owners should, therefore, when ordering bunkers, insert clauses to the effect that the fuel oil supply process is to be in accordance with the requirements of Annex VI and with specified maximum sulphur content appropriate to the particular intended future area of operation. This will ensure they remain compliant with the cap.”
Certain regions such as in the Middle East and Australia believe they are small markets that will initially struggle to find the right amount of compliant fuel. But the reality is that ships will simply not use ports that cannot offer compliant fuels after January 1 2020. The clock moves on and so do the regulations: keep reading; keep planning and keep searching.
Regulation 18 MARPOL Annex VI
Regulation 18 Fuel oil availability and quality Fuel oil availability I Each Party shall take all reasonable steps to promote the availability of fuel oils that comply with this Annex and inform the Organization of the availability of compliant fuel oils in its ports and terminals. 2.1 If a ship is found by a Party not to be in compliance with the standards for compliant fuel oils set forth in this Annex, the competent authority of the Party is entitled to require the ship to: 1 present a record of the actions taken to attempt to achieve compliance; and 2 provide evidence that it attempted to purchase compliant fuel oil in accordance with its voyage plan and, if it was not made available where planned, that attempts were made to locate alternative sources for such fuel oil and that despite best efforts to obtain compliant fuel oil, no such fuel oil was made available for purchase. 2.2 The ship should not be required to deviate from its intended voyage or to delay unduly the voyage in order to achieve compliance. 2.3 If a ship provides the information set forth in paragraph 2.1 of this regulation, a Party shall take into account all relevant circumstances and the evidence presented to determine the appropriate action to take, including not taking control measures. 2.4 A ship shall notify its Administration and the competent authority of the relevant port of destination when it cannot purchase compliant fuel oil. 2.5 A Party shall notify the Organization when a ship has presented evidence of the non-availability of compliant fuel oil.
Only 2% of global fleet to adopt scrubbers to meet sulphur cap requirements, UBS report reveals.
Switching to compliant fuel overwhelmingly outweighs installing scrubbers when it comes to meeting the IMO’s 2020 regulations, says a top investment bank.
A report by UBS found that only 2% of the global fleet would adopt scrubbers by 2020.
According to its survey of shipping executives, 68% of correspondents preferred adopting low-sulphur fuel to meet IMO’s cap on sulphur emissions, whereas only 21% chose installing scrubbers.
A 9% minority opted to replace outdated vessels with new ships, and an even lower 6% chose LNG fuel.
The survey also suggests only 64% of the world’s shipping fleet will meet ballast water and sulphur cap rules by 2020.
The key hindrances to full compliance are uncertainties in regulatory specifications and effective technologies, the report said.
The IMO regulation change caps sulphur emissions at 0.5% from 3.5% from January 2020, and directs a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2025.
Installing scrubbers is not a straight solution for meeting the sulphur and CO2 cap, the report suggested.
Problems arise, as some measures that meet one requirement do not meet the other, the report said.
It gave the example of ultra-low sulphur fuel oil (ULSFO) or low-sulphur marine gas oil (LSMGO) and scrubbers, which meets the sulphur cap rule but does not help lower CO2 emissions.
Adopting scrubbers can actually lead to higher CO2 emissions, the report said, and suggests adopting “ULSFO/LSMGO and scrubber may be a stop gap measure until a more dominant technology is available.”
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Ensuring compliance with the IMO 2020 regulation isn’t just about fuel selection; the actual switchover process from heavy fuel oil to new, low-sulphur alternatives needs careful management, writes Luca Volta, Marine Fuels Venture Manager, ExxonMobil.
The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) 0.50% sulphur cap will dramatically change the fuels landscape. Unlike the introduction of Emission Control Areas (ECA), the IMO’s latest emission regulations set a global limit that will require vessels to make a permanent change in fuel selection, unless operators opt to fit abatement technology
Vessel operators are asking how to comply by 1 January 2020 with the changing emissions target, what types of fuels will be available and where. However, ensuring compliance isn’t just about fuel selection; the actual switchover process from heavy fuel oil (HFO) to new, low-sulphur alternatives needs careful management. There are also implications for lubricant selection.
A number of important steps must occur prior to bunkering a low-sulphur fuel, so vessel operators will need to work out arrangements that meet the specific requirements of their vessels. Without prudent plans in place, operators run the risk of non-compliance and costly fines. They must also plan for fuel availability, given the possibility that some ports will initially be unable to meet industry demand. A high-sulphur fuel carriage ban is likely to come into force by 1 March 2020.
Unless a vessel is fitted with abatement technology, commonly known as a scrubber, operators will need to ensure that their fuel tanks do not contain high-sulphur HFO by the IMO deadline. Fuel tanks will probably retain sediment from the existing HFO, which is likely to contain those higher levels of sulphur. If this is not removed, there is the risk that the sulphur will contaminate compliant fuel, pushing its sulphur content above the 0.50% limit.
ExxonMobil expects that many compliant fuels entering the market will have a sulphur content very close to the 0.50% cap, so even very low levels of residual sulphur left in a fuel tank could tip a vessel over the IMO’s limit.
To minimise this risk, ExxonMobil recommends that vessel operators flush fuel tanks with a distillate-based product to help remove sludge deposits. This process may need to be repeated, depending on the amount of residue present. In some instances, tank bottoms may have to be manually cleaned.
The fuel used to flush tanks could contain damaging levels of cat fines, which will require on-board treatment. Vessel operators must factor in how long these processes could take and keep in mind that any sludge removed from the tanks will need to be disposed of properly.
Operators should remember that the storage, handling and treatment of 0.50% fuels will involve bunkering fuels of a wider variety of viscosities, types and formulations than seen today. On-board handling practices have to take into account likely changes in fuel types, including fuel segregation and routine compatibility testing.
Cylinder oil stock depletion
One benefit of the 0.50% cap is that vessels will be able to streamline their lubricant inventory as only one cylinder oil will be required. Vessels with scrubbers will continue to use HFO and high BN oils, while those who choose to switch to low-sulphur fuels will need correspondingly low BN formulations. These vessels must deplete their stocks of high BN cylinder oils prior to the IMO deadline to avoid waste and disposal costs.To ensure compliance, ExxonMobil recommends that vessel operators work with suppliers who have adopted the latest ISO 8217:2017 fuel standard and have the proven technical expertise to help them navigate the upcoming changes.
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