THE INTERNATIONAL Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has signalled that it is encouraged by efforts made by IMO member states to resolve pressing challenges ahead of the implementation of the global fuel sulphur content cap in 2020.
After an IMO working group meeting last week, to which the shipping industry submitted several proposals to help ensure smooth and consistent implementation, ICS secretary general Peter Hinchliffe said last week’s IMO discussions were positive.
“Most important is that governments have acknowledged the safety concerns raised by industry about the use of compliant fuels including possible incompatibility,” he said.
“We are pleased that member states have accepted their obligations under MARPOL to ensure that fuel is suitable for use and will not pose a safety risk to the ship or the crew, and that IMO has now agreed that these critical issues should be urgently addressed by the next IMO Maritime Safety Committee in December 2017.”
ICS also welcomed a statement made by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to last week’s IMO working group.
“ISO announced that the existing industry standard for marine fuel oils, ISO 8217, already addresses the new 0.5% fuel blends that will be used by many ships to comply in 2020,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“ISO also advised that it will be providing guidance on the application of the standard to these new blended fuels.
“In view of recent concerns, ISO’s confirmation that no revision of the standards is needed prior to 2020 is very welcome as is ISO’s recognition that existing tools to assess compatibility are inadequate and its reassurance that ISO is actively seeking solutions before the 2020 deadline.”
Mr Hinchliffe said it would be vital for shipowners and crews to have confidence that new fuels would indeed be safe and compatible before taking delivery, which they will need to start doing several months in advance of January 2020.