As the 2020 sulphur cap came into force on the 1st of January 2020, the shipping industry is still challenged by the de-bunkering methods of heavy sulphur fuel oil, with the pressure of flag states which will begin detecting for non-compliant fuel oils.
The Standard Club analyzed the procedure of de-bunkering HSFO, reminding that although the ban of carrying HSFO will come into force in March 1st, the ban on burning HSFO became effective 1 January.
It is highlighted that the shipping industry should be aware of the possibility that a charterer may be less eager to charter a vessel that still has a big quantity of HSFO onboard, something which may affect the likely charter rate.
Yet, the above considerations will be different between the charters who usually pay for and supply fuel and voyage charters, where owners will be responsible for this.
The responsible parties for compliance with the amended MARPOL Annex VI will be the owners, despite the existence of a time or voyage charter. Thus, the majority of charter parties will include a warranty marking the vessel’s compliance with the International (and National) rules and regulations (such as MARPOL), and that the vessel fits legally for charter services.
Also, interested parties should ensure that charterparty terms are updated, if not already updated, to ensure risk/contractual liability are allocated to charterers where required.
The Club recommends that owners should give practical consideration to the timing of the removal of residual HSFO, keeping in mind how and where.
Owners will also be conscious that, subsequent to any debunkering of HSFO, effective cleaning of the fuel system (tanks, piping, service and storage tanks) will be required in order to be in a position to receive, store and burn compliant LSFO.
It is crucial that owners make clear that the above is not against any existing charterparty obligations. Furthermore, charterparty terms dealing with price of bunkers on delivery/redelivery may need to be updated to reflect the change in market prices.