Namely, the Symposium began on October 17 and will last until October 18, taking place in the Main Hall at IMO Headquarters.

The first day of the Symposium is focused on the upcoming sulphur cap regulation, with participants discussing the implementation and enforcement of the regulation, and the controversial issue of the use of scrubbers to comply with the 0.50% requirement. The next and final day will be dedicated to the use of alternative fuels and their benefits in achieving decarbonization.

On the opening speech, IMO's Secretary General, Kitack Lim, gave a brief presentation of how the sulphur cap regulation was conceived, beginning October 2008, when IMO adopted comprehensive amendments to MARPOL Annex VI that regulated the prevention of air pollution from ships.

Mr Lim commented that although the approaching regulation is more than challenging for the shipping industry, as ships will have to switch to low sulphur fuel oil, the change is of a great importance and preparation is the key to success IMO 2020.

This Symposium is an important part of our efforts to share understanding and review where we are in the preparations for the IMO 2020 on sulphur limit that is actually already in force.

In the meantime, the Sec-Gen noted that the regulation has required shipowners consider how and when to obtain the new fuel oil and find ways to receive, store and use this fuel oil on board, resulting to IMO implementing the ship implementation plan, assisting shipowners' steps based on specific guidelines.

Referring to many initiatives that have taken part because of the approaching IMO, Kitack Lim added that the sulphur cap can be realised with technological innovation and the introduction of alternative fuels, following the path towards a more environmentally responsible future.

This Symposium comes at a time when shipping is making a big step towards that sustainable future. However, the voyage has just started towards a more environmentally friendly and low-/zero-carbon future that the sector must attain. I'd like to emphasize that collaboration among key stakeholders is essential for the smooth landing of IMO 2020.

During the Symposium, Eddy van Bouwel, Chair, marine fuels committee, IPIECA stated

It is all going to be about market dynamics - but supply and demand will get in balance. It will not be an easy transition, but we will get there.

In the meantime, Simon Bennett, Deputy Secretary-General of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) highlighted that they were confident that IMO 2020 will be a success.

However, the huge enormity of such a regulatory game changer has never been attempted before and needs to be understood by all stakeholders.

The explanatory infographic below -click on the infographic below for more information- explains how the shipping industry will reduce its sulphur emissions and how this reduction will play a role in a better environment.

Air pollution results to premature deaths , so air pollution reduction will decrease:

  1. strokes;
  2. asthma;
  3. cardiovascular disease;
  4. lung cancer;
  5. pulmonary disease.