The UGS and the HKSOA welcomed the decision of the MEPC 74 to adopt the proposal by the EU 28 Member States and the European Commission for a new work programme on the evaluation and harmonization of rules and guidance on the discharges of scrubbers into waters. This comes ahead of uncertainties regarding the use of scrubber as equivalent to the consumption of compliant 0.5% sulphur fuels.

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The two associations also stated that they are fully committed to the UN IMO decisions and process with a view to reach a safe, consistent and smooth implementation of the 2020 0.5% global sulphur limit on marine fuels and the decarbonisation of the shipping industry as soon as possible.

However, they expressed concerns about the cost of compliant fuels and various safety and fuel compatibility issues. They hope that these issues will be fully addressed by the different stakeholders before 2020.

Under this aspect, both associations are expecting that the UN IMO Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 101) at its current meeting, taking place from 5 to 14 June, will deal with the significant safety issues, in order for the new rules to be compatible with the operational needs of the different types of ocean-going fleet.

Regarding the long-term target of 50% overall GHG emissions reduction by 2050 compared to 2008, safe low carbon or fossil-free fuels along with new propulsion technologies efficientlly tested and suitable for vessels spending long periods at sea are necessary for international shipping. These measures will enable the new environmental rules to be effective and sustainable without distorting competition.

Nevertheless, the new fuels and technologies will have to be provided through huge investment in research and development involving all necessary stakeholders. For this reason, the shipping industry has urged the UN IMO to play a more proactive role in the advancement of this research and development.

The shipping industry faces serious challenges ahead and must remain united in order to be able to meet them successfully. We are especially pleased to have had an open and fruitful dialogue and meeting of the minds with our Asian colleagues on an array of topical environmental and operational issues and in particular the safety, availability and other challenges related to the 2020 0.5% global sulphur cap on marine fuels as well as the further reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from ships

UGS President, Theodore Veniamis, added.