The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) says it is
encouraged by efforts made by IMO Member States to resolve so of the challenges
ahead of the global 0.5% sulphur fuel cap regulations taking effect on 1
The ICS’ remarks comes after an important IMO working group
meeting last week to which the industry submitted a number of constructive
proposals to help ensure smooth and consistent implementation.
“Although there is still much work to be done, last week’s IMO
discussions were positive,” said ICS Secretary General, Peter Hinchliffe. “Most
important is that governments have acknowledged the safety concerns raised by
industry about the use of compliant fuels including possible incompatibility.
We are pleased that Member States have accepted their obligations under MARPOL
to ensure that fuel is suitable for use and will not pose a safety risk to the
ship or the crew, and that IMO has now agreed that these critical issues should
be urgently addressed by the next IMO Maritime Safety Committee in December
Hinchliffe added “It will be vital for shipowners and crews to
have confidence that new fuels will indeed be safe and compatible before taking
delivery, which they will need to start doing several months in advance of
ICS has also welcomed the development by IMO, as suggested by
the industry, of a template for ship-specific ‘Implementation Plans’, which
will be adopted by the Marine Environment Protection Committee in October.
“This template will help ship operators to prepare for
implementation and demonstrate good faith in doing everything possible to
ensure compliance, which will be important if compliant or compatible fuel is
not available in every port during the first few weeks of implementation.
Throughout last week’s meeting, the industry stressed the need
for a pragmatic approach to enforcement in the event of any initial teething
problems that are beyond the control of ship operators, and IMO has agreed that
Port State Control authorities may take account of a ship’s Implementation Plan
when verifying compliance.” Mr Hinchliffe explained.
ICS says that solid progress was also made by Member States on
draft guidelines for consistent implementation, fuel oil non-availability
reporting, verification issues and amendments to the guidelines for Port State
ICS is also pleased by the agreement to apply the 95% confidence
factor of ISO 4259 to on board fuel oil samples used for verifying compliance,
while retaining the existing absolute 0.50% limit for the MARPOL sample which
is taken during bunkering. ICS says this should help avoid potential scenarios
where the sample taken during bunkering receives an acceptable test result only
for the in-use fuel to be found non-compliant.
“More work is obviously needed to fully address the important
issues raised by the industry, but the usual IMO spirit of co-operation has
moved us all significantly closer to achieving smooth implementation in January
2020.” said Peter Hinchliffe. “During last week’s IMO meeting, it was again made
clear that there is absolutely no possibility that the legal date of
implementation will be postponed. It is therefore of the utmost importance that
shipping companies and charterers proceed with their implementation planning
Taking account of the decisions made by IMO Member States last
week, including the template for ship-specific Implementation Plans, ICS is now
developing detailed guidance on implementation of the global sulphur cap, which
it will make available to shipowners via its member national shipowner
associations during the next few weeks.