Namely, owners and operators of vessels operating in the North American or US Caribbean Sea Emission Control Area (ECA) that are unable to acquire sufficient MARPOL Annex VI compliant fuel oil at a foreign or US port may satisfy the MARPOL Annex VI Regulation 18.2.4 requirement to notify the competent authority of the relevant port of destination by notifying the cognizant US Coast Guard Captain of the Port (COTP).

Effective June 30, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stopped accepting Fuel Oil Non-Availability Reports (FONARs).

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There is no specific format for the notification. However, based on the MARPOL Annex VI, Regulation 18.2.1, the ship owner or operator should be prepared to present a record of the actions taken to achieve compliance, including evidence that they tried to buy compliant fuel oil in accordance with the vessel's voyage plan.

The US Coast Guard will investigate all reports of non-compliance with MARPOL Annex VI to conclude what actions may be warranted. Such actions may vary from completing the investigation with no follow-on action, detaining the vessel, and/or pursuing civil penalties. The US Coast Guard may also refer the matter to EPA.

The sulphur content of any fuel oil used on board ships within the NA or US Caribbean Sea ECAs will not change when the worldwide sulphur cap is reduced on January 1, 2020.

Until the International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopts one, it is suggested ships use the format provided in the Annex to PPR 6/8/2 ("Consistent Implementation of Regulation 14.1.3 of MARPOL Annex VI: Proposed Template to report compliant fuel oil non-availability")

USCG concludes.