BIMCO’s Manager, Christian Baekmark Schiolborg, suggests that the fuel oil non-availability report (FONAR) should be the last option for one that is in a bad situation. The FONAR is a record of actions that the ship has to document in the attempt to bunker non-compliant fuel oil and have evidence.
There is a possibility that a vessel, when conducting bunkering operations at a port, will not be able to bunker complaint fuel, based on IMO’s 2020 sulphur cap. The FONAR will help the vessel document its moves and procedures taken.
However, filling the FONAR form doesn’t mean that the authorities of the port state will be lenient towards the non-compliant ship. Thus, it would be best for the vessel to send its FONAR prior to arriving to the port, having also provided information on the vessel’s flag, P&I Club and class, in order for the parties to be informed about the situation and have time to consider the solution.
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In the meantime, Schiolborg informs that although the vessel could have informed all interested parties and have completed the FONAR prior to arriving to a port, the cost for its non-compliance could be massive. A reason that the cost could be massive is that the vessel carrying the non compliant fuel will have to get ride of it prior to departing the port. He added that the cost of debunkering could be very high and result to something more than a fine.
Being detained and asked to debunker the non-compliant fuel could have a severe impact.
A striking case when a vessel was fined in case of non compliance was seen in Europe, in Emission Control Areas (ECA), and the fines were from 50,000 to 100,000 euros.
Overall, all shipowners may find themselves in this unwanted situation.
Yet, Schiolborg’s advice is clear:
Get statements, get proof and submit to all entities: the port state; the flag; the P&I club; the class. Do it on a timely manner, even before you leave the port. This will enable the authorities discuss the situation and not hurry to make a decision.