IMO 2020 puts IBIA Conference in Spotlight

IMO 2020 puts IBIA Conference in Spotlight

Shipowners and bunker industry players accept IMO 2020 is coming and are ready to adapt is how the overall flavour the International Bunkering Industry Association conference in Copenhagen was put by Lloyd’s List.

The voice of the shipowner sent two reporters to the event, an acknowledgement, perhabs, of the significance of sulfur cap rule change on both sides of the industry.

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Finding the Messi or Ronaldo of IMO 2020: Opinions and Facts in a Post-Truth World

Finding the Messi or Ronaldo of IMO 2020: Opinions and Facts in a Post-Truth World

Messi or Ronaldo? Scrubbers or LNG?

Everyone has their own personal preference and many have very strong opinions for or against one or the other. What became clear at the recent FIFA World Cup was that perhaps the Messi or Ronaldo debate is now a matter for historians (who was the greatest?), while the future of footballing greatness may lie elsewhere. Similarly there are those who would argue that both scrubbers and LNG are simply perpetuating the use of fossil fuels and that the real long-term future of ship propulsion lies elsewhere. It’s unlikely this debate will be settled any time soon.

In the same week that the world cup was building up to France’s glorious victory last Sunday, the intersessional working group (ISWG) meeting of the Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR) was meeting at the IMO headquarters in London. It was a very useful meeting which yielded some clear direction and resolution in a few areas. As an industry association we occasionally find ourselves in a situation where some of our members hold diametrically opposed views and/or contrary opinions on various matters.

Therefore, in what some have called a post-Truth society, we find it important to distinguish between matters of fact and opinions. It is inevitable that our members will occasionally have different opinions and also biases on important matters. However, the facts, once clearly established, must be presented and accepted as the facts regardless of which side of the debate one favours.

This is particularly important when it comes to seafarer and vessel safety. It was therefore a very welcome development that the confusion about whether the existing ISO 8217 marine fuel quality standard will cover fuel blends produced to meet the 0.5% sulphur limit has, hopefully, been cleared up at last week’s meeting at the International Maritime Organization.

Concerns about the safety of fuel blends complying with the upcoming 0.50% sulphur limit were on the agenda for the working group meeting, which was tasked with developing guidelines to support the consistent implementation of the 2020 sulphur limit.

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Post your comment and join in the debate.

IBIA offers practical advice – tank cleaning

IBIA offers practical advice on tank cleaning to IMO 2020 planning meeting

Ship implementation planning for the 2020 sulphur cap is on the agenda at a week-long meeting set to take place at the International Maritime Organization in July. The intersessional working group (ISWG) will work on guidelines to ensure consistent implementation of the 0.50% sulphur limit taking effect on 1 January 2020, and it has been agreed that guidelines pertaining to “preparatory and transitional issues” need to fast-tracked so they can be adopted by the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) in October this year.

Ship implementation planning for 2020 needs to include calculations for the time needed for ships to “be fully flushed of all fuel oils exceeding the applicable sulphur content” prior to entry into force of the regulation, and a description of how to deal with and limit the impact of possible non-availability of fuel oil complying with the 0.50% sulphur limit after that date.

IBIA has submitted a document to the ISWG in July to assist ship operators who opt to comply with the 0.50% sulphur limit by using oil-based fuel oil by describing options available for cleaning fuel oil tanks and systems. The document also contains observations on dealing with the impact of possible non-availability of fuel oil meeting the 0.50% sulphur limit

The majority of ships are expected to use oil-based fuel oils for compliance with the 0.50% sulphur limit taking effect on 1 January 2020. Most of these ships will have been using high viscosity high sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) based primarily on residual fuel oils. Such fuels tend to stick to the inside of fuel tanks forming layers of semi-solid substances containing sediments and asphaltenic sludge; some such residues will also typically have solidified and settled in various parts of the fuel oil service system including pipelines, settling and service tanks.

It will therefore be necessary to clean ships’ fuel oil tanks and fuel oil service systems prior to 1 January 2020, as simply loading compliant fuel into empty fuel tanks that have not been cleaned could cause both operational risks to ships and risk non-compliance with the 0.50% sulphur limit, as such remaining HSFO residues sticking to various surfaces may dissolve/dislodge.

“It is therefore not recommended to simply load compliant fuel directly into tanks previously used for HSFO or to start flushing through the fuel oil service system to achieve compliance, without taking preparatory and precautionary steps,” IBIA’s document states.

Fuel oil tanks should be cleaned on a regular basis on ships to remove built-up sediments and sludge, usually during dry docking and whenever inspections of the fuel tanks are due. However, leading up to 1 January 2020, it would not be practicable for the majority of the global fleet that has been running on HSFO to undergo dry docking during a very short period, hence other options for cleaning tanks and fuel oil systems during service will need to be considered.

IBIA’s document describes options available to ships to undertake for tank cleaning, approximate timelines associated with each method, and highlights considerations. IBIA members can obtain a copy by contacting Tara Morjaria on

The IMO 2020 planning meeting is scheduled to run from 9 to 13 July. As an industry association with consultative status at the IMO, IBIA will participate in the meeting.

Compliance & enforcement – it’s complicated

Shipping pollution
At a recent LISW forum hosted by IBIA the key discussions focussed on different options for how the upcoming sulphur cap in 2020 can be enforced and how well the compliance will be monitored. IBIA’s IMO representative Unni Einemo told the forum that enforcers should differentiate between intentional non-compliance and non-compliance due to non-availability of compliant fuel oil.

Read the full article on the forum here and join in the debate!

How much will 2020 cost?

There have been a number of estimates of the magnitude of the cost to the shipping community of implementing the global 0.50% sulphur cap in 2020.

Recently, Wood Mackenzie grabbed the headlines by saying global bunker fuel costs could rise by up $60 billion annually from 2020, in a full compliance scenario, when the International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulation kicks in. The underlying assumption for this headline figure was based on the majority of the world fleet switching from high sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) to marine gas oil (MGO). “A combination of higher crude prices and tight availability of MGO could take the price of MGO up to almost four times that of fuel oil in 2016, and eventually cost the entire industry additional US$60 billion annually,” Wood Mackenzie said in a press release about the findings of a study undertaken by the research and consultancy firm.


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