From January 1, 2020, the global upper limit on the sulphur content of ships' fuel oil has been reduced to 0.5% from 3.5%, a move that will seriously improve the amount of sulphur oxide emanating from ships, will improve people's health and lead to environmental benefits, mostly for those inhabiting close to ports and coasts.

In addition, Kitack Lim stated that

I believe it is testimony to the diligence and dedication of IMO, its Member States, the shipping industry, the fuel supply industry and other relevant industries that such a major rule change is being implemented successfully without significant disruption to maritime transport and those that depend on it.

Following Kitack Lim's appraisal of the transition, he reminded the industry that the next goal concerning carrying non-compliant fuel oil on board ships, is rapidly approaching, as it will come into force on March 1.

Coming into force on 1st March 2020, the carriage ban prohibits the carriage of non-compliant fuel oil for combustion purposes for propulsion or operation on board a ship, unless the ship has a scrubber installed.

The Sec-Gen called all shipowners, operators and masters to comply with the carriage ban, where applicable, when it comes into effect, while the Organization will remain vigilant and ready to respond and provide any support.

Moreover, it was reported that although in the beginning the prices for compliant fuels - very-low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) and marine gas oil (MGO) rose quickly, they, now, appear to be stabilizing.

Concluding, from January 20, 10 cases of compliant fuel being unavailable had been reported in IMO's Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS), while the dedicated email address established by the IMO Secretariat ( has not received any specific correspondence reporting issues with implementation.