Prices for compliant fuels, very-low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) and marine gas oil (MGO), rose quickly since the start of implementation of the sulphur cap on January 1, 2020, but now appear to be stabilizing, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said.
Assessing the progress on sulphur limit implementation, Lim said that there has been a relatively smooth transition from 3.5 pct sulphur content of ships’ fuel oil to 0.5 pct fuels.
The IMO added that as of 20 January, 10 cases of compliant fuel being unavailable had been reported in IMO’s Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS), while the dedicated email address established by the IMO Secretariat (firstname.lastname@example.org) has not received any specific correspondence reporting issues with implementation.
“I believe it is testimony to the diligence and dedication of IMO, its Member States, the shipping industry, the fuel supply industry and other relevant industries that such a major rule change is being implemented successfully without significant disruption to maritime transport and those that depend on it,” IMO Secretary-General said.
“The next important target is fast approaching, when carrying non-compliant fuel oil on board ships becomes prohibited on March 1, 2020. I urge all shipowners, operators and masters to comply with the carriage ban, where applicable, when it comes into effect. IMO will remain vigilant and ready to respond and provide any support. I would like to thank, sincerely, IMO Member Governments, the shipping industry and all stakeholders, including shippers and the fuel oil supply industry, for their efforts so far and to ask for further cooperation to ensure IMO 2020 is implemented properly.”
There have been a lot of concerns in the shipping community with regard to picking the right compliance option, its safety, availability, reliability and finally issues concerning the very policing of the compliance among shipowners.
Teething problems are still likely to occur, but initial market reports claim that the industry seems to have done its homework and prepared well for the sulphur cap implementation.