Leading shipping and environmental organizations such as the International Chamber of Shipping are lobbying the International Maritime Organization to consider banning the carriage of non-compliant marine fuels when the global sulphur cap takes effect in 2020.
IMO has agreed that from 1stJanuary 2020 the maximum permitted sulphur content of marine fuel (outside Emission Control Areas) will reduce from 3.5% to 0.5%. Unless a ship is using an approved equivalent compliance method, there should be no reason for it to be carrying non-compliant fuels for combustion on board.
The call for the ban has been made in recognition that monitoring of non-compliant fuel use will be notoriously difficult to monitor where ships are navigating international waters far from shore.
“The 2020 sulphur cap will provide substantial environmental and human health benefits as a result of the reduced sulphur content of marine fuels used from 1 Jan 2020,” said the lobby group, which also includes Intertanko and the World Shipping Council.
“At the same time, the 2020 cap will significantly increase ships’ operating costs and will present major challenges to governments that must ensure consistent enforcement across the globe. To secure the intended environmental and health benefits, the organizations say it is of utmost importance that enforcement of this standard is efficient and robust globally. Any failure by governments to ensure consistent implementation and enforcement could also lead to serious market distortion and unfair competition,” the lobby group added.
The joint statement comes ahead of a critical IMO meeting in February, at which proposals for a carriage ban will be discussed by governments, environmental and shipping organizations who assert that such a ban will help ensure robust, simplified and consistent enforcement of the global sulphur cap.
A number of international associations representing the global shipping industry, as well as the Cook Islands and Norway, have already submitted proposals to IMO to ban the carriage of non-complaint fuels. These proposals call for an amendment to Annex VI of the MARPOL Convention, stipulating that ships should not carry fuel for propulsion with a sulphur content above 0.5% (unless they are using an approved alternative compliance method).
Given the fundamental importance of the 2020 global sulphur cap, the call for a prohibition on the carriage of non-compliant fuels is now supported by the following organizations:
BIMCO, Clean Shipping Coalition, Cruise Lines International Association, Friends of the Earth U.S., International Chamber of Shipping, International Parcel Tankers’ Association, INTERTANKO, Pacific Environment, World Shipping Council, and WWF Global Arctic Programme.