T&E and Seas at Risk: Delay of 0.5% Sulfur Cap from 2020 "Unacceptable and Unjustifiable"

Tuesday October 11, 2016

NGOs Seas at Risk and Transport & Environment (T&E) Tuesday condemned the possible delay of a global 0.5 percent sulfur cap on marine fuel from the proposed 2020 date, calling it "unacceptable and unjustifiable."

The NGOs point to a recent study conducted by U.S. and Finnish researchers, which suggests that the 2020 implementation of the 0.5 percent sulfur cap would prevent 200,000 premature human deaths globally.

"An IMO policy implemented on time in 2020 could reduce the health burden on coastal communities, particularly in Asia, Africa, and Latin America," said Professor James Corbett of the University of Delaware, and a lead author of the study.

"The inverse is also true. A delay would ensure that health impacts from sulfur emissions will persist in coastal communities that are exposed, where shipping lanes are most intense and communities most densely populated."

Seas at Risk and T&E note that the on-time implementation of the stricter sulfur cap on marine fuel in 2020 could prevent an estimated 134,650 premature deaths in Asia, 32,100 in Africa, and 20,800 in Latin America.

Further the NGOs highlight that this latest study supports the finding of two previous global health studies, which also concluded that ship air pollution is harmful to human health and cause deaths.

"Both the health study and clean fuel study make it clear that the 2020 data must be respected. The shipping and refinery industries have already had eight years to prepare and there are still three more years before final implementation in 2020. There are no more excuses for deadly inaction," said Bill Hemmings, shipping director at T&E.

John Maggs, senior policy advisor at Seas At Risk, commenting on the findings of the latest study, said: "the world has waited far too long for ships to ditch dirty fuels."

"With hundreds of thousands of additional premature deaths predicted and the toll falling heaviest on the developing world, the human health implications of ship's continuing to burn dirty fuels beyond 2020 are clear and utterly unacceptable. With cleaner fuels available in 2020 there is no excuse for further delay."

Earlier this week, Ship & Bunker reported that Lars Robert Pedersen, Deputy Secretary General at BIMCO, says the IMO's fuel availability study is "flawed" and not sufficient to determine adequate availability of low sulfur fuel should a 0.50 percent global sulfur cap be implemented in 2020.