IMO2020: BIMCO Clause Highlights Charterers' Obligations to Dispose of Noncompliant Bunker Fuel, Keep Every Stem Separate

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Thursday November 1, 2018

BIMCO’s 2020 Bunker Clause working group says it is pushing hard to finish work on two key clauses addressing the global switch to 0.50% sulfur content fuel on January 1, 2020.

Development of the draft for one of those clauses, the 2020 Transitional Fuel Clause, has highlighted some important points about the obligations of charterers when it comes to dealing with bunker fuels as the industry moves into 2020, particularly in light of the fuel oil carriage ban that was adopted last week at MEPC73 and ongoing concerns about bunker compatibility. 

“The 2020 Transitional Fuel Clause recognises that owners and time charterers will have to cooperate in the run up to 1 January 2020 to manage fuel supplies to minimise the amount of non-compliant fuel on board the ship on the coming in to force date," says BIMCO.

"Any non-compliant fuel on board belonging to the charterers after 1 January 2020 will need to be discharged from the ship and disposed of at charterers’ risk, time and cost latest by the 1 March 2020 carriage ban date, or by the redelivery date – whichever comes first. It will be the owners’ responsibility to clean empty fuel tanks to prepare them to receive 0.5% sulphur content fuel.

“A requirement to segregate fuels of different grades is a common provision in most time charter parties. However, there are concerns that new 0.5% sulphur content fuel may have compatibility issues even between stems produced by the same oil company. To minimise the risk of incompatibility between stems of 0.5% sulphur fuel, the clause requires each supply of fuel to be kept separate – even if it is of the same grade and specification.

BIMCO’s Documentary Committee is set to meet on November 13, 2018.

In addition to discussing a first draft of the 2020 Transitional Fuel Clause, the “2020 Global Marine Fuel Sulphur Content Clause”, which is a general compliance provision, will be put forward for adoption.

“The feedback provided by the Committee will be used to further refine the [2020 Transitional Fuel Clause] immediately afterwards. Furthermore, the sub-committee will ask the Documentary Committee to fast track the clause with the aim to issue the 2020 Global Marine Fuel Sulphur Content Clause and the 2020 Transitional Fuel Clause together as a package,” says BIMCO’s Head of Contracts and Clauses, Grant Hunter.