Report: Proposal for 2020 Sulphur Cap Experience-Building Phase Rejected, IMO Compromises Instead

shipIllustration. Image Courtesy: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license

The proposal of introducing an experience-building phase (EBP) for the upcoming 2020 sulphur cap did not receive support at the ongoing meeting of the International Maritime Organization’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 73) taking place in London until Friday, October 26.

The EBP was proposed in a paper cosponsored by the Bahamas, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Panama, BIMCO, INTERCARGO and INTERTANKO, and the initiative was backed by the Unites States.

The proposal was rejected by the committee for being vague and in need of further defining, Bloomberg reports.

The paper raised nuemrous questions in the industry as it was seen as a way of watering down the upcoming sulphur limit for ships coming into effect on January 2020. The parties proposing the measure denied claims that EBP was aiming to delay or compromise the regulation in any way. Instead, it was devised as a “data gathering” mechanism, intended to deal with issues “where a ship is not able to achieve compliance due to fuel non-availability and fuel quality problems”, among other things.

However, the initiative was not completely quashed, as the aim of the proposal “is very much alive” according to BIMCO’s Lars Robert Pedersen, quoted by Bloomberg. Specifically, the IMO called for proposals on issues regarding fuel quality concerns to be submitted by May, 2019.

“The consensus agreement reached at IMO Wednesday to ask for a concrete proposal to strengthen the implementation of MARPOL Annex VI, regulation 18, is very satisfactory to BIMCO. The proposal will seek to establish the necessary additions to the IMO GISIS modules for holding data from the experience ships gain with regard to fuel oil availability and fuel quality. And, importantly, the conclusion worked for all IMO member states,” Lars Robert Pedersen, BIMCO Deputy Secretary General, said in a statement.

“The MEPC has furthermore rejected attempts to defer adoption of the ban on carriage of non-compliant fuel, and adoption of this new regulation is expected to take place later this week. BIMCO has worked for a carriage ban, and is pleased that it is going to be adopted.”

The key issues being tackled by MEPC 73 since Monday, October 22, include reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships, further work on energy efficiency of ships, implementation of sulphur 2020 limit, ballast water management treaty implementation as well as the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil as fuel by ships in Arctic waters.

On Monday, the committee approved the follow-up program for IMO’s strategy on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from ships.

The follow-up program is intended to be used as a planning tool in meeting the timelines identified in the initial IMO strategy, which includes a range of candidate short-, mid- and long term measures yet to be considered.

World Maritime News Staff

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