NGOs Welcome IMO Decision on 2020 0.5% Global Sulfur Cap for Shipping Industry

Thursday October 27, 2016

NGOs Transport & Environment (T&E) and Seas At Risk, today welcomed the International Maritime Organization (IMO) decision at the 70th session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 70) for a 0.5 percent global sulfur cap on marine fuel to be implemented in 2020, rather than the proposed delayed date of 2025.

"This is a landmark decision and we are very pleased that the world has bitten the bullet and is now tackling poisonous sulphuric fuel in 2020. This decision reduces the contribution of shipping to the world's air pollution impact from about 5% down to 1.5% and will save millions of lives in the coming decades," said Bill Hemmings, shipping director at T&E.

"Now the focus should shift towards implementing this decision, which is a big issue since it's not yet clear who should police ships on the high seas, and how."

Earlier this month T&E and Seas At Risk 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."

Today, John Maggs, senior policy officer at Seas at Risk, commenting on the decision, said: "air pollution, including from shipping, is a global health and environmental scourge. The world has waited a long time for the shipping industry to clean up its act and move towards cleaner fuel. That moment has come."

"Cleaner shipping fuel will become a legal reality in 2020. Thousands of premature deaths will be avoided and millions of people around the world will now quite literally be able to breathe easier."