IMO2020: BIMCO Warns on High Cost of Using FONARs

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Wednesday September 18, 2019

Ship operators who think using noncompliant fuel under a FONAR next year might save them money, may have to reconsider.

Writing in the latest BIMCO magazine, Christian Bækmark Schiolborg, Manager, Maritime Technology & Regulation, says the cost associated with using a FONAR could be very high even if there are no fines involved.

"My advise to shipowners is don't plan on using it," he says.

Much has been said about the Fuel Oil Nonavailability Reports (FONAR), and specially that they are not a waiver for sulfur regulations.

If complaint fuel us not available and the vessel has a FONAR as a result, it can still be fined.

While Schiolborg notes in Europe such fines for ECA violations have been as high as €100,000 ($110,000), a USdistrict court recently handed out fines totalling $3 million in a sulfur regs violation case in the Caribbean ECA.

"There is a reason why at least half of the first page in the FONAR template is dedicated to explain that this is not a get-out-of-jail-free card," he says.

Fines aside, an even higher cost could be that associated with debunkering, Schiolborg warns.

"Being detained and asked to debunker the non-complaint fuel cold have a severe impact," he says.

Not only would fuel have to be removed, but fuel tanks could also need to be cleaned and the whole operation could take days.

The debunked fuel could also be classed as waste oil, meaning its value would be all but lost as it went to a shoreside reception facility.

"We are talking tonnes here, and that means very large sums of money to absorb," Schiolborg says.

"If you are not prepared in advance, and using a FONAR without evidence, you will find yourself in a very bad situation."