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Shipping associations urge pragmatic approach to IMO 2020 sulfur compliance

Singapore — Shipping associations urge pragmatic approach to IMO 2020 sulfur complianceFive shipping associations have called on the International MaritimeOrganization to adopt a pragmatic approach when enforcing compliance with itsglobal sulfur cap of 0.5% in marine fuels to avoid compromising safety orunfairly penalizing individual ships.

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Unlike in 2015, where ships entering Emission Control Areas primarilychanged to ISO 8217 distillate fuel oils to meet the 0.1% sulfur limit, anumber of ships from January 1, 2020 will use blended fuel oils and newproducts which fall outside the ISO 8217 standard, said BIMCO, InternationalChamber of Shipping, INTERCARGO, INTERTANKO and World Shipping Council in astatement Monday.

"The worldwide implementation of this game-changing new regulatory regimewill be far more complex than the previous introduction of Sulfur EmissionControl Areas for shipping not least because of the sheer magnitude of theswitchover and the quantities and different types of fuel involved," theassociations said.

"On top of the absence of global standards for many of the new blendedfuels that oil refiners have promised, there are potentially serious safetyissues, including those related to the use of compliant but incompatiblebunkers. As an example, if bunkers turn out to be incompatible it could leadto loss of power on the ship," they added.

The shipping associations called on port state control authorities toexercise a "pragmatic and realistic approach to enforce compliance" during theinitial months of the global switchover as the likelihood of technicalchallenges during this period is expected to be high.To help smooth the implementation of the global sulfur cap, which dropsto 0.5% in 2020 from the current 3.5%, the five shipping associations havesubmitted a number of proposals to the IMO ahead of a key IMO meeting inLondon next month.

These include a draft standard for reporting on fuel oil non-availabilityand proposed amendments to MARPOL Annex VI to require sampling points for fueloil, and safety implications associated with 2020 fuels and their respectivechallenges.--Esther Ng, by Jonathan Dart,