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IMO to prohibit carriage of non-compliant high sulfur fuel oil

9 February 2018

The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response has agreed to move forward with a prohibition on the carriage of fuel oil for use on board ships, when that fuel oil is not compliant with a new low sulfur limit which comes into force from 2020. The 0.50% limit on sulfur in fuel oil on board ships—outside designated emission control areas (ECA), where the limit is 0.10%—will come into effect on 1 January 2020.

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To help ensure consistent implementation of this regulation, IMO’s Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR) agreed draft amendments to the MARPOL Annex VI regulations, to prohibit the carriage of non-compliant fuel oil, such that the sulfur content of any fuel oil used or carried for use on board ships must not exceed 0.50%.

The exception would be for ships fitted with an approved “equivalent arrangement” to meet the sulfur limit—such as an exhaust gas cleaning system (EGCS) or so-called scrubber. For ships without an approved scrubber, the sulfur content of any fuel oil carried for use on board shall not exceed 0.50%.

An exemption can be also granted for ships undertaking trials for ship emission reduction and control technology research.

The Sub-Committee forwarded the proposed draft amendments to the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 72) meeting in April 2018, for urgent consideration. Once approved by MEPC 72, the draft amendments could be adopted at MEPC 73 (October 2018) and could enter into force on 1 March 2020—two months after the 0.50% limit comes into effect.

Black Carbon. The Sub-Committee also agreed a reporting protocol for voluntary measurement studies to collect black carbon (BC) data as well as most appropriate black carbon measurement methods for data collection. Black carbon emissions from ships contribute to climate change as a ‘short-lived climate pollutant’. IMO has been looking at how to measure and report on black carbon emissions, as part of its work on the impact on the Arctic of black carbon emissions from international shipping.

Source: IMO