July meeting critical for smooth sulphur transition

Industry associations have submitted proposals to safeguard safety and prevent unfair penalties after the sulphur cap is enstated Industry associations have submitted proposals to safeguard safety and prevent unfair penalties after the sulphur cap is enstated

A coalition of industry associations have urged IMO member states to make progress at a meeting to discuss sulphur cap implementation challenges next month.

BIMCO, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), Intercargo, Intertanko and the World Council of Shipping (WCS) have jointly filed several submissions intended to avoid compromising safety or unfairly penalising ships after the introduction of the sulphur cap on 1 January 2020.

The submissions include a suggested standard format for a ship-specific implementation plan, with many actions ships may need to consider for achieving compliance as well as a call for a practical and pragmatic approach from member states when verifying compliance. Another paper details safety implications associated with compliant fuels and their respective challenges.

A draft standard for reporting on fuel oil non-availability is also proposed, alongside amendments to Marpol Annex VI to require sampling points for fuel oil. A last joint submission looks at verification issues, control mechanism and actions.

On top of the absence of global standards for many of the new blended fuels that oil refiners have promised, the submissions highlight potential safety issues, including those related to the use of compliant but incompatible bunkers.

The associations also note that, with the scale of technical challenges involved and the likelihood of teething problems, it will be important for port state control authorities to exercise a pragmatic and realistic approach to enforce compliance during the initial months of the global switchover.

The intersessional meeting will take place in London on the second week of July.

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