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            february 18, 2019

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IMO plans to ban non-compliant fuel on board ships in 2020


The International Maritime Organization's (IMO) subcommittee on pollution prevention and response has proposed to go ahead with the ban on the transport of non-compliant low-sulfur fuel on board ships when the 0.5 per cent low sulfur limit enters force in 2020.
To ensure consistent implementation of the IMO's low-sulfur regulation, the subcommittee which met in London last week, also agreed to draft amendments to the MARPOL (International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships) convention's Annex VI to impose the transport prohibition on fuel with a sulfur content of more than 0.5 per cent.
An exception would be made for ships fitted with an approved technology to meet the 0.5 per cent sulfur content limit, such as scrubbers. Another option is using liquefied natural gas to power ships' engines.
This rule will be in addition to the existing requirement for ships to burn fuel with sulfur content not exceeding 0.1 per cent in the so-called Emission Control Areas (ECAs), which started in 2015, American Shipper reported.
The IMO subcommittee has forwarded the proposed draft amendments to the IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 72) meeting in April, for "urgent consideration". Once approved, the draft amendments could be adopted at MEPC 73 (October 2018) and enter into force on March 1, 2020 (just two months after the 0.50 per cent limit comes into effect), the IMO said.
The 2020 non-compliant fuel ban has been backed by a large swathe of the maritime industry and environmental groups including BIMCO, World Shipping Council, Clean Shipping Coalition, International Chamber of Shipping, Intertanko, International Parcel Tankers Association, Cruise Lines International Association, Pacific Environment, Friends of the Earth and WWF.
While the organisations realise the 2020 sulfur cap will increase ship operating costs, they said it's more important for governments to enforce the cap for the sake of environmental and health benefits that will be achieved. In addition, they warned that lack of enforcement will "lead to serious market distortion and unfair competition" for those ship operators that do comply.

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