BIMCO Calls IMO Study on Low Sulphur Fuel Availability in 2020 ‘Flawed’

Image Courtesy: IMO

International shipping association BIMCO has raised concerns over data on available fuel ahead of Marine Environment Protection Commitee (MEPC) decision on the 0.5% global sulphur cap implementation date.

Namely, BIMCO said that the official International Maritime Organization (IMO) study which assessed the relevant availability of fuel oil “has failed to fully address the IMO’s terms of reference” in several critical areas.

These areas include fuel oil quality, as a significant amount of the fuel oil that the IMO study concludes will be available for marine use is unsafe to store and use onboard ships, BIMCO said, as well as how an assessed shortage of sulphur removal capacity in refineries will be resolved so that capacity would be in place by 2020. Additionally, the shipping association noted that the study fails to model the disruption that an overnight introduction of the global cap, from December 31, 2019, would cause.

As a result, BIMCO said that “it is not possible to determine that the global refining industry will have the capacity to produce enough marine fuel by 2020.”

BIMCO, among others, have funded an independent supplementary study carried out by EnSys and Navigistics to assess the availability of marine fuel, which addresses all the above issues.

This study concluded that it is unlikely that there will be sufficient low sulphur fuel available in 2020, while maintaining uninterrupted supply of fuel to all other sectors of the global economy.

“It is clear that the IMO study is flawed, meaning it is not possible to determine from the study that there would be sufficient fuel available in 2020. On that basis, our opinion is that it would be irresponsible for IMO to make the decision to go for 2020 at MEPC 70 in October. There is clearly a need for additional analysis to ensure the supply chain for global trade is not seriously disrupted and developing nations are not hit hard by a lack of affordable energy,” Lars Robert Pedersen, Deputy Secretary General at BIMCO, said.

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