IMO2020 Compliance: Ship Owners Need Support, Not Just Simple Warnings, says PISR

Tuesday February 26, 2019

When it comes to enforcement of the new 0.50% global sulfur cap on marine fuel, ship owners need support, not just simple warnings, says Panos Kirnidis, CEO of Palau International Ship Registry (PISR).

Exactly how IMO 2020 will be enforced remains as one of the new cap’s big questions, with the authorities’ handling of fuel oil nonavailability reports (FONAR), the decision by some ports to ban open-loop scrubbing, and a lack of consistent penalty schemes among the major uncertainties.

"The global sulphur cap is just another pressure on ship owners and also captains and crew and we need to recognise that many operators in the shipping world need people they can talk to and advice that keeps them sailing," says Kirnidis.

“From the start of 2020 the involvement of PSC in fuel related matters could see a significant rise in detentions if non-compliance with the IMO sulphur cap occurs. This is adding further risk to operations and a worrying prospect in the short-term for many ship owners.”

Kirnidis says a rise in the use of “smart technology” will help in providing such support, and points to his registry’s own Deficiency Prevention System (DPS) as an example.

“[DPS] is a dedicated service providing support to prevent deficiencies and detentions causing serious implications with PSC.  We operate a dedicated department within PISR which monitors the location and destination of the Palau flagged vessels and analyses with over 93% confidence their risk performance and priority for inspection by a PSCO,” he says.

“These inspections naturally place the captain, the crew and the owners under great pressures. We believe these pressures are often counter-productive and as a registry that is heavily invested in digital operations, we have taken steps to ease these burdens.”

While Kirnidis notes the importance of adhering to and enforcing global standards, he says some ship owners take a negative view on both Port State Control (PSC) and the IMO as “regulatory policeman” and a source of financial and operational problems.

“Continuing threats are no way to keep the industry in check. We don’t believe this is a productive way to keep the shipping world moving,” he says.

“Our view is that we need strong regulations and penalties but these should be supplemented by equally strong support from regulators and ship registries.“