IMO2020: Intercargo Highlights Twin Concerns on Bunker Fuel Cap

Thursday March 8, 2018

Dry bulk shipowners' organisation Intercargo has highlighted twin concerns over the International Maritime Organisation sulfur cap which comes into force in under two years' time.

Will there be enough fuel? And, will compliant low sulfur fuel oil be fit for purpose?

"With the 0.5% sulphur fuel cap fast approaching, our biggest concern is there would not be enough supply of compliant fuels," Intercargo chairman John Platsidakis told maritime news provider Lloyd's List.

"This is something which is being imposed on shipowners without ensuring that the refineries are willing to produce it," Platsidakis added.

The organisation's vice-chair Jay K Pillai pointed out that there is no common specification for the compliant fuel in ISO 8217, which is the international benchmark for marine distillates and marine residual fuels.

"Since the standards are not developed we do not know the safety implications of running the fuel in the engines," Pillai was quoted as saying.

The Intercargo executives were meeting in Singapore in early March.

A period of volatility for bunker fuel prices has been widely predicted as the bunker market adjusts to the new situation. A significant gap is expected to open up between the price of high sulfur fuel oil and low sulfur fuel oil in the wake of the sulfur specification in bunker fuel, which will drop from 3.5% to 0.5% at the beginning of 2020.