Port Report: Fuel quality rules left up to port states for IMO 2020

Meeting the IMO 2020 sulfur regulation should not be a problem for owners when the regulation enters into force in January 2020 but making certain that the enforcement of the regulation is uniformly applied across the globe could prove problematic.

International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations are not enforced by the organisation itself, but rather by member states affiliated to the United Nations’ maritime regulator. The same is true for the much heralded Sulfur Cap which will see the sulfur content in fuels reduced to less than 0.5 percent, globally, from its current levels of less than 3.5 percent in international waters. This in turn will reduce the poisonous sulfur oxide gas emitted from ships.

In order for the enforcement of the regulation by member states it is required that each national jurisdiction applies the regulation by establishing it as law through its own legal system. That would allow each jurisdiction to take legal action against those that do not comply.

Tim Wilson, the principal specialist for marine fuels at Lloyd’s Register’s Fuel Oil Bunkering Advisory Service (FOBAS) told FreightWaves, that it is unclear how many flag administrations have translated this regulation into law. The flag state denotes the jurisdiction that a ship operates under, for example, a Panama flagged vessel is subject to Panamanian law.

In addition, port state control, the jurisdiction for the port of call for a vessel can also act against a non-compliant ship, but again Wilson said it is unclear how many administrations have entered this regulation into their statutes.

Denmark has ordered sniffer drones that will analyse the sulfur content in vessel funnel gases, but Denmark’s jurisdiction is in a Sulfur Emission Control Area, where the regulation allows just 0.1 percent of sulfur in vessel fuel, whereas the new regulation will apply to international waters and will require the less stringent 0.5 percent of sulfur in the ship’s fuel.

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Source: Freight Waves

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