As IBIA reports, a standard IMO format for reporting non-availability of compliant fuel oil has been developed, as well as guidance for how such reports should be investigated by authorities. However, there is no resolution yet about how to deal with any bunkers that are over the 0.50% sulphur limit, which remain on board a ship when the carriage ban takes effect.
According to IBIA, a full review of the 2015 Guidelines on Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems needs more time, as only elements regarding malfunction of the EGCS system or a monitoring instrument have been sent for approval by the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee in May. MEPC 74 will also discuss about ways to address any potential environmental impact of scrubber discharges to water.
IBIA has been participating, consulting and contributing to IMO’s meetings, concerning amendments to MARPOL Annex VI that will ensure consistent implementation of the global 0.50% sulphur cap, developed at the 6th meeting of the IMO’s Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR 6).
Unni Einemo, Director, International Bunker Industry Association comments on possible challenges that will arise due to the 2020 sulphur cap. Ms. Einemo notes that in the ideal scenario, enough fuels of acceptable quality will be available in order to meet future demand. However, this scenario is too optimistic and the shipping industry must prepare to deal with future issues.
IBIA reminds the industry that new regulatory requirements under MARPOL Annex VI, regarding the information to be included in the bunker delivery note (BDN), will enter into force on 1 January 2019. That is why, IBIA provides practical advice and dispel some of the misunderstandings regarding the responsibility of suppliers.
IBIA welcomes IMO’s decision to incorporate safety provisions in SOLAS, separating the subject from discussions of the new 0.50% sulphur limit.
IBIA reiterated that states that are parties to MARPOL Annex VI are supposed to inform the IMO of the availability of compliant fuel oils in their ports. Following a proposal by Liberia at MEPC 73, there is an established mechanism to do so and now it is hoped this can be used to help companies prepare for 2020 with detailed information about where and when compliant fuels will be available.
After a number of ships experienced fuel contamination problems with seemingly on-spec fuels, many worry that such cases will increase as the market is fearful about the quality of fuel bends provided to meet the new 0.50% sulphur limit in 2020. However, IBIA notes that ‘the contamination cases are completely unrelated to low sulphur fuel oil blending’.
IBIA welcomed signs that work may soon start to develop a new chapter for oil-based fuels with a flashpoint below 60°C within the context of the IGF Code. This would simplify the process for ships to show that they are designed to use such fuels safely, IBIA said.
The 5th session of the IMO’s sub-Committee on Carriage of Cargoes and Containers (CCC 5) last week has completed draft interim guidelines for the safety of ships using methanol as fuel, setting them on course for formal approval by the IMO’s MSC in 2020.
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