During the first roundtable meeting in June, participants expressed their commitment to enhancing collaboration, including further information sharing among stakeholders, as appropriate, to make a smooth transition to the 0.50% limit, recognizing the benefits for human health and the environment.

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What is more, the IMO Secretariat highlighted the latest decisions emanating from IMO's MEPC 74, including adoption of guidelines on consistent implementation, PSC and other guidance; and from the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 101), including the adoption of Recommended interim measures to enhance the safety of ships relating to the use of oil fuel.

Industry participants reported on their work, including:

  • the latest version of the ICS Guidance to Shipping Companies and Crews on Preparing for Compliance with the 2020 'Global Sulphur Cap' which will be published in the first week of July 2019;
  • a Joint Industry Project developing industry guidelines with a focus on safety to support implementation, including training;
  • updated charter clauses developed to address sulphur 2020 and fuel issues;
  • investment by the oil refining industry in new blends of fuel oil to meet the limit; and
  • potentially linking sulphur 2020 provisions with current ship inspection programmes.

IBIA says that the second roundtable meeting reported increasing confidence as significant efforts to date by all stakeholders to achieve effective implementation was recognized adding that “It was felt supply of compliant fuels would generally be available, with some exceptions. While heavy fuel oils continued to be loaded, it was noted that more ship operators and owners are beginning to gain experience of compliant fuels, while bunker suppliers were in the process of moving their storage infrastructure and bunker barges to be 0.50% compliant fuel oil ready.”

It was further underlined that coherent enforcement by port State control was once again recognized as essential in ensuring a level playing field and to further guarantee that ships would not be disproportionately impacted. It is said that concerns were raised by some attendees in regard to the preparedness of the PSC regimes to enforce the 2020 sulphur limit. IBIA adds that specific training to support port State control for the implementation of MARPOL Annex VI could be provided.

Whatsoever, the IMO Secretariat confirmed the Organization’s readiness to support PSC regimes, with particular capacity building and training, with workshops being delivered with the support of Denmark and the World Maritime University (WMU).

Further to this, participants at the roundtable meeting, including International Chamber of Shipping (ICS); International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO); International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners (INTERCARGO); The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST); BIMCO and ); and International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) among many others, raised concern about possible inconsistent approaches in relation to the fuel oil non-availability report (FONAR).

Lastly, it is underlined that participants agreed on the need to continue to raise awareness about the sulphur 2020 limit and the need for further preparation by all stakeholders, including the IMO Secretariat, PSC regimes, Member States, shipowners/operators, charterers, fuel suppliers and others, in order to ensure consistent implementation of the sulphur 2020 limit by 1 January 2020. In this regard, it was agreed that the IMO Secretariat would communicate to all relevant parties on the continuing need to prepare for the entry into force of the sulphur limit.