In an official release on 8 July, the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism said its trial seeks to ensure the domestic shipping industry’s readiness for the IMO's 2020 sulphur regulations, mandating ships to run on fuel containing up to 0.5% m/m of sulphur.

Although the new alternative fuels are expected to provide bigger air quality and prevent adverse effects on human health, they are different from conventional ones and respond testing in order to operate safely, the Ministry said.

The first test began on 27 June and lasted for a week. The trial revealed no problems to change, blend and use of compliant fuel oil on four coastal vessels, including steel and cement carriers sailing in the Pacific.

The Ministry revealed plans to run more trials with different kinds of coastal vessels through the end of July.