The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) says it is encouraged by efforts made to resolve some pressing practical challenges of the global implementation of the 0.5 percent sulphur in fuel cap, which comes into effect on January 1, 2020.
Speaking after an International Maritime Organization (IMO) working group meeting, at which the industry submitted a number of constructive proposals to help ensure smooth and consistent implementation, ICS secretary general, Peter Hinchliffe, said: “Although there is still much work to be done, last week’s IMO discussions were positive.
“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.”
At the IMO working group, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) announced that the existing industry standard for marine fuel oils, ISO 8217, already addresses the 0.5 percent fuel blends that will be used by many ships to comply in 2020. The association also advised that it will be providing guidance on the application of the standard to these new blended fuels.
“In view of recent concerns, ISO’s confirmation that no revision of the standards is needed prior to 2020 is very welcome as is ISO’s recognition that existing tools to assess compatibility are inadequate and its reassurance that ISO is actively seeking solutions before the 2020 deadline,” said Hinchliffe.
He 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 January 2020.”
During the meeting, ICS says that it was again made clear that there is absolutely no possibility that the legal date of implementation will be postponed.
According to the ICS, it is therefore of the utmost importance that shipping companies and charterers proceed with their implementation planning without delay.