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Violations of IMO 2020 emissions rules for shipping could hit insurance cover

Logistic News - Published on Wed, 22 May 2019

Image Source: Sea News
Tougher rules on sulfur emissions from ships will come into effect next year in the biggest shake-up for the oil and shipping industries for decades. United Nations shipping agency the International Maritime Organization met in London this week for the only Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) session this year and will fine tune guidance.

What will the regulations mean for users and makers of marine fuel?

IMO 2020
From January 2020, the IMO will ban ships from using fuels with a sulfur content above 0.5%, compared with 3.5% now.

Only ships fitted with sulfur-cleaning devices known as scrubbers will be allowed to continue burning high-sulfur fuel. Ship owners can also opt for other sources of cleaner fuel such as liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Failure to comply with the global regulations will result in fines or vessels being detained, which could affect vital requirements such as insurance cover. The actual enforcement will be policed by flag and port states rather than the IMO.

The regulations are aimed at improving human health by reducing air pollution.

A study cited by the IMO says over 570,000 premature deaths will be prevented between 2020 and 2025 by the introduction of the tighter guidelines.

Refineries separately face significant costs to adapt to the new fuel specifications.

Can the Rules Be Stopped?
Towards the end of last year there had been some industry concerns over whether there would be enough time to prepare for the start of the regulations, even though the measures were fully adopted in 2016.

Given the complex IMO process involved in changing regulations, which would require an estimated 22 months for any amendments to take effect, there will not be enough time to delay the date and the changes will go ahead.

Analysts still question whether there will be full enforcement by flag and port states.

Will There Be Enough Low Sulphur Fuel?
Oil majors including BP and Royal Dutch Shell have announced they are producing very low sulfur fuels that meet the 0.5% requirements.

One of the major issues is whether there will be enough quantities of compliant fuel around ports across the world, which is vital for ships planning sailings.

While major fuel bunkering ports such as Singapore, Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates and Rotterdam in the Netherlands are expected to have compliant-fuel supplies, analysts and shipping firms point to concerns over what happens at smaller ports.

The IMO approved at the MPEC session a standard format for what it called a “fuel oil non-availability report,” which can be presented to a port state in the event that only non-compliant fuel was available for a vessel to use.

The International Chamber of Shipping association has warned ship owners that such mechanisms were a “tool of last resort” and should not be seen as a “free pass” either to use or carry non-complaint fuel.

Source :

Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Wed, 22 May 2019
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