IMO MEPC 73 Adopts Ban on Carriage of Non-Compliant Fuels

The IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 73) adopted today the MARPOL amendment to prohibit the carriage of non-compliant fuel oil on board ships.

The ban relates to fuels intended for combustion purposes, propulsion or operation on board a ship, the IMO informed. The entry-into-force date is March 1, 2020.

The measure exempts ships that are fitted with exhaust gas cleaning systems or scrubbers.

The committee approved guidance on ship implementation planning, which includes sections on

  •          risk assessment and mitigation plan (impact of new fuels);
  •          fuel oil system modifications and tank cleaning (if needed);
  •          fuel oil capacity and segregation capability;
  •          procurement of compliant fuel;
  •          fuel oil changeover plan (conventional residual fuel oils to 0.50% sulphur compliant fuel oil); and
  •         documentation and reporting.

The MEPC also approved guidance on best practice for fuel oil suppliers.

The key issues being tackled by MEPC 73 since Monday, October 22, included reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships, further work on energy efficiency of ships, implementation of sulphur 2020 limit, and ballast water management treaty implementation among other things.

On Monday, the committee approved the follow-up program for IMO’s strategy on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from ships. The  program is intended to be used as a planning tool in meeting the timelines identified in the initial IMO strategy.

However, the committee turned down the proposal for the introduction of an experience-building phase on the 2020 sulphur cap prohibiting ships from burning marine fuels with sulphur content higher than 0.5 pct. Instead, the IMO called for proposals on issues regarding fuel quality concerns to be submitted by May, 2019.

IMO member states are required to inform IMO of the availability of compliant fuel oils in their ports and terminals well in advance of January 1, 2020. The parties are also  required to notify when a ship has presented evidence of the non-availability of compliant fuel oil.

World Maritime News Staff

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