The Indian shipping community, which is
preparing for the global ban on carrying and burning of fuels with sulphur
content higher than 0.5 per cent in ships, received two assurances recently.
One is related to a more relaxed
enforcement regime in the first few months of next year, owing to the
uncertainty over the level of preparedness of the industry in dealing with the
change, and the other from Indian oil companies that they are ready to supply
the required low sulphur fuel.
We won’t go
just by the letter of the law: Deputy Nautical Advisor at the Mercantile Marine
With the mandate scheduled to kick in on
January 1, 2020, Captain SIAK Azad, Deputy Nautical Advisor at the Mercantile
Marine Department, said that the regulator’s priority in the first few months
will be Ease of Doing Business. “Trust and common sense will be applied and we
won’t go just by the letter of the law,” he addressed the gathering of nearly
100 people at the regional seminar on ‘IMO Sulphur Cap 2020 – Implementation
and its Impact in Indian Waters’, conducted in Chennai.
The sulphur cap has thrown the shipping
world into heightened activity with oil companies and refiners across the world
upgrading their infrastructure to supply low sulphur fuels in adequate
quantities to ships to avoid disruptions in ship movement. There have, however,
been fears over the technical compatibility of the new fuels with shipboard
equipment. In the recent past, stringent mandates in the US regarding sulphur
led to the use of blended fuels that damaged equipment onboard. Ships had to be
stopped mid-seas for repairs near the Americas.
All the ports
in the West Coast have already stocked this fuel
Anil Vasu, Chief Technical Service Manager
of Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, said that the total bunker fuel requirement in
India is around 1.7 million tonnes per year, largely supplied by State-owned
companies. Out of this, some 0.965 mmtpa is high sulphur furnace oil, while the
rest is distillate fuel. “The IOC’s refinery in Koyali alone has built enough
capacity in the last one year to supply 1.0 mmtpa,” he said. All the ports in
the West Coast have already stocked this fuel. Eastern ports would receive
stocks in the coming weeks, he said.
Another IOC refinery in Haldia will soon
be ready to roll out compliant fuel. IOC has had a market share of 60 per cent
in ship bunker in India.