Anna Ziou, Policy Director, UK Chamber of Shipping. Image Credit: UK Chamber of Shipping
There are four key areas that still need to be address before the new global 0.50% sulfur cap comes into force on January 1, 2020, says the UK Chamber of Shipping.
There are: How the regulation will be consistently enforced globally; Education on how new compliant fuel should be handled; How shipowners can report compliance issues to competent authorities; and Mitigation of any safety issues related to switching to low-sulphur fuel.
This is problematic, the Chamber's Policy Director, Anna Ziou, writes, as shipowners need certainty in order to implement and make decisions that will achieve compliance with the 2020 regulation.
Thankfully, many of these issues are being addressed. For example, Ziou notes IMO is developing guidelines to support a consistent implementation for the new sulfur cap a well as guidelines to help port state control maintain a level playing field through consistent enforcement.
A template to document instances where compliant fuel is not available - the so-called Fuel Oil Nonavailability Report, or FONAR - is due in mid-2019.
Also due mid-2019 is guidance to help mitigate against safety risks incurred with the switch to the new low sulfur fuels.
But questions remain, says Ziou, such as what happens to non-compliant fuel remaining onboard after a ship has called at port and logged a FONAR.
"There are other, more complex unknowns to deal with too. It is not yet certain whether there will be sufficient supply of IMO-compliant marine fuel to meet the increased demand that will begin to be seen from the fourth quarter of this year onwards, as owners prepare their vessels to be compliant on 1st January," she writes.
"The quality of these new marine fuels also needs to be assured. Price volatility is a concern too and the tight supply of compliant fuel is expected to force prices upwards, possibly by hundreds of dollars per tonne."