Namely, last week the Clean Arctic Alliance (CAA) wrote a letter in response to a recent study revealing that some of the new blended low sulphur shipping fuels developed and marketed by oil companies to comply with IMO 2020 air pollution standards, will actually lead to a surge in the emissions of black carbon.

In light of the situation, shipping, bunkering and refining bodies, including IACS, IBIA, IMarEST, RINA and CIMAC responded to those concerns by highlighting:

"The supply and use of 0.50% -sulphur marine fuel was limited to operational aspects only and was developed to support suppliers, ship managers and seafarers prepare and implement the use of 0.50% sulphur fuels as safely as possible. Our document was wholly safety related and did not investigate or comment on any other issue."

Moreover, the group considers that the information available since the introduction of the 0.50% sulphur limit on 1 January 2020, which suggests their expectations, have been generally correct.

 In your letter, you refer to fuels with a high aromatic content that show a potential link with black carbon emissions. We expected there to be a greater tendency for 0.50% sulphur fuels to be more paraffinic – not aromatic – in nature.

...the group continued.

Concluding, the organizations fully agreed that the international fuel oil supply and shipping community should review and focus seriously on all black carbon related submissions (involving the joint submission from Finland and Germany to IMO dated before the introduction of the 0.50% sulphur limit).

The upcoming IMO Pollution Prevention and Response Sub-Committee is the most effective forum to progress that debate. It would not be appropriate for us to pre-empt the conclusions from that discussion.