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India to enforce IMO 2020 rule on both domestic, international shipping: ministry officials

New Delhi — India's domestic shipping sector will comply with the International Maritime Organization's low sulfur mandate for marine fuels and the country remains committed to implement MARPOL VI regulations on board its flag vessels, irrespective if the run is foreign going or coastal, officials at the country's shipping ministry told S&P Global Platts.

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There has been market speculation that India's domestic shipping sector wouldn't comply with the new low sulfur marine fuel regime.

"Domestic shipping will start complying as soon as the low sulfur fuel is available," an official told Platts late last week.

In order to ensure compliance, the Directorate General of Shipping, the maritime regulator, has already held several rounds of consultation with stakeholders, including ship owners, unions, oil refiners, bunker oil suppliers and barge operators, to prepare for the IMO 2020 rule, the official said.

India's move comes on the heels of an announcement by Indonesia in August that it will fulfill its MARPOL Annex VI obligations to enforce the 0.50% sulfur cap regulations, dismissing earlier government plans, suggesting only a partial implementation of the rule.

INDIAN REFINERS

Compliance with the IMO 2020 rule worldwide is expected to be around 80%-90% in the initial months of 2020, with Asia playing an active role in achieving this compliance rate as refiners pave the way, industry sources said.

Refiners such as Indian Oil Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation have assured the shipping ministry of the availability of IMO 2020 compliant 0.5% sulfur fuel across the Indian coast from October 2019, the Indian shipping ministry official said.

IOC, for example, aims to supply more than 1 million mt/year of the cleaner fuel from its Haldia refinery on the eastern coast and the Gujarat refinery on the western coast, Platts reported earlier.

Meanwhile, early planning and implementation will help the entire supply chain to be ready to implement the IMO 2020 regulation, the shipping ministry said.

Many parties were already forging ahead with the ship implementation plan prepared by the IMO, industry sources said. Elements covered in the plan include a risk assessment and mitigation plan to tackle the impact of new fuels, fuel oil system modifications, tank cleaning and bunkering.

India's oil ministry puts annual marine fuel demand at around 1 million mt/y.

-- Ratnajyoti Dutta, newsdesk@spglobal.com

-- Surabhi Sahu, surabhi.sahu@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Claudia Carpenter, claudia.carpenter@spglobal.com