Singapore is the world's largest marine fuels hub. File Image / Pixabay
Singapore's authorities found just two ships in what they considered to be non-compliance with the International Maritime Organization's new 0.50% sulfur limit for bunker fuels in the first quarter, according to the country's Maritime and Ports Administration (MPA).
The two ships "found to be using non-compliant fuel" without a scrubber were detained at the port and only allowed to leave once they had switched to using a compliant fuel, the MPA said in a statement on its website Monday.
In addition, 12 ships were found to be "using fuel that marginally exceeded the sulphur limit," the MPA said.
"This was likely due to remnant residues of high-sulphur fuel in the fuel oil tanks and piping.
"It is expected that in time, the fuel oil tanks and piping will be properly flushed with the continual use of compliant fuel.
"MPA had informed the respective managers and flag administrations of these ships about the non-compliance."
The MPA inspected 326 ships in total in the first quarter for IMO 2020 compliance, it said.
The statement signals that Singapore's authorities have been inclined to take a lenient attitude towards marginal cases of non-compliance at the start of the year, which will be a relief to shipowners worried about facing fines and vessel arrests in cases where the rules were only broken by accident.
No ships were found in breach of Singapore's ban on the discharge of washwater from open-loop scrubbers, the MPA said.