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09. February 2018


IMO is ready for ban on non-compliant fuel

At the opening of the week-long IMO meeting, IMO's Secretary-General, Kitack Lim clearly communicated that there is no turning back; the global Sulphur requirements will enter to force in 2020. The effect of the rules will be significant for both the environment and public health and must, therefore be implemented, Kitack Lim said.

During the first days of the meeting, only a few countries expressed concerns about the year 2020 as the date of entry into force. Therefore, there was a rapid agreement to discuss the more technical proposals for enforcing sulphur requirements, including a ban on non-compliant fuel on board.

During these discussions, the IMO countries agreed to submit to the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee that as from 2020 it should be prohibited to have fuel on board with a content of sulphur of more than 0.5 pct. unless the ship has a scrubber installed to clean the exhaust.

"Danish Shipping is very pleased with the clear signal IMO has sent this week. Effective enforcement is something we have worked long and hard for together with our members and a handful of sister organisations. Therefore, it was also very positive that a joint international industry proposed a ban as a prelude to the meeting of IMO and it was very helpful that the Danish authorities were at the forefront of support, "said Maria Skipper Schwenn, Executive Director at Danske Shipping.

She refers to the concrete proposal of ICS, BIMCO and a number of other international industry organisations that was tabled prior to the meeting.

"This week has been a good example of how the IMO countries take responsibility for both the environment and the shipping industry's competitiveness. Concerns from both NGOs and shipping organisations have been heard and IMO has shown its ability to act just as a global regulator of a global industry should do,” says Maria Skipper Schwenn.

“This was the first step towards making enforcement of the sulphur requirement more simple. Now IMO begins to work on the practical implications surrounding the implementation in order to ensure that bunker suppliers, ship owners and authorities have the right instruments and guidance to comply with the sulphur regulation. A one-week long meeting dedicated to the implementation of the sulphur requirements has been planned for July 2018,” she finishes.

Final adoption in October

The meeting took place in a sub-committee of the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC). This means that the proposal is now being submitted for discussion at the next MEPC meeting, which will take place in April. It will be a matter of urgency, which means that the proposal will be processed faster than usual and can be finally adopted in October 2018.

Subsequently, the proposal must be incorporated into the IMO's MARPOL Convention before it can enter into force. It is expected to take place on 1 March 2020.