The IMO sulphur cap regulation mandates that from January 1, 2020, vessels must burn fuel with less than 0.50% m/m of sulphur, down from 3.5% now, unless vessels are equipped with exhaust gas cleaning systems (scrubbers).

With less than five months remaining for the global implementation of the IMO's 0,5% sulphur regulation, the shipping industry is still divided between the two available options for compliance: Alternative fuels or scrubbers installation.

Both solutions increase costs for operators, leading Indonesia to announce it would not implement the regulation because of the expense brought.

Responding, the Trident Alliance emphasized that shipping is a global industry and therefore benefits from a global regulatory approach.

The only surefire way to successfully implement the new global sulphur cap is follow the regulations to the letter. Any local deviations from this would create unfair competition and may lead to non-compliance on a wider scale. Furthermore, it is extremely unhelpful to make such decisions so late in the day given the expense and effort the industry has already expended in preparing,

...Trident Alliance Chair, Roger Strevens said in response.

As argued, internationally trading vessels that commit a violation within Indonesian waters could be sanctioned for it by other port states at a later point in their voyage, hence they could not revert to the older and cheaper 3.50%S level.

Aside from the unfair distortion to the competitive landscape, it is unclear how a failure or refusal to enforce the new sulphur cap would not expose a state to legal consequences.

States, such as Indonesia, that are party to IMO’s MARPOL Annex VI do not have the facility to exempt merchant vessels from compliance. Additionally, states party to Annex 6 can be held liable for non-enforcement by the other states that are party to it, the alliance added.

The Trident Alliance, strongly urges any state contemplating partial enforcement to reconsider in favour of the only approach that makes lasting sense on a moral, legal and business basis; full and effective enforcement,

...it concluded.