The trade associations have submitted a number of proposals to IMO, aiming to help smooth the implementation of the global 0.5% sulphur in fuel cap, ahead of the important meeting that will take place in London during the second week of July.

These submissions include:

  • A standard format for a ship specific implementation plan with many actions ships may need to consider for achieving compliance but also a call for a practical and pragmatic approach from IMO Member States when verifying compliance with the 0.50% global sulphur cap;
  • Safety implications around 2020 fuels and their respective challenges;
  • A draft standard for reporting on fuel oil non-availability;
  • Proposals for amendments to MARPOL Annex VI to require sampling points for fuel oil;
  • Verification issues and control mechanism and actions.

The associations added that ship owners and ship operators will do what is necessary to meet the standards required. However, the implementation of this new regulatory regime will be more complex than the previous introduction of sulphur Emission Control Areas.

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What is more, the lack of global standards for many of the new blended fuels, raises potentially serious safety issues, including those related to the use of compliant but incompatible bunkers.

Another important issue is that, practically, there will not be a transitional period after 1 January 2020. Commenting on this issue, the trade associations said:

Something of this magnitude has never previously been attempted before on a worldwide basis. The industry will do its utmost to be fully compliant to the extent that this is under its control. But safe and successful implementation will necessitate the supply of fuels, in ports around the world, which are compatible as well as legally compliant.

For this reason, port state control authorities should conduct a realistic approach to enforce compliance during the first months of the global switchover.