USCG: Availability of Compliant Fuel Won't be a Problem

Wednesday June 20, 2018

The availability of compliant marine fuel once the 0.5% sulfur cap is in place should not be a problem, according to a United States Coast Guard (USCG) official.

In comments made at the recent Posidonia shipping event and posted on the USCG website, Rear Admiral John Nadeau, assistant commandant for prevention policy, said failure to get the right fuel could be down to "poor voyage planning" as much as anything else.

"We don't believe there will be a shortage of 0.5% compliant fuel," he said, citing a recent study.

"The study done by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) concluded there may be instances of regional non-availability during implementation of the new cap, but this can be managed through the transport of compliant fuels to areas where it is not available."

Nadeau said that industry concerns that some shipowners could gain competitive advantage through wilful non-compliance were valid.

"You can expect to see a strong effort within our Port State Control (PSC) program to ensure compliance with these sulfur limits.

"If, during a PSC boarding, we discover that a vessel has used fuel exceeding the sulfur cap beyond our emissions control area, we will refer the evidence to the vessel's flag state for further investigation and enforcement action. On US vessels, we will take action just as we do now."

Nadeau said that USCG "will participate in enforcement as appropriate if IMO adopts a carriage ban on fuel exceeding the 0.5% sulfur cap".

And he noted that IMO subcommittee is meeting in July to consider measures to support consistent implementation of the global cap.

"The US supports this effort and stands ready with our colleagues to share lessons and experience," Nadeau said.

From January 1, 2020, all ships must use 0.5% bunker fuel unless the ship has emissions abatement equipment installed.