BAHAMAS-flagged bulker African Heron (IMO 9750000) was detained at Geelong recently, after being found with fuel above the allowable sulphur content.

A spokesperson for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said the African Heron was detained in on 1 May 2020 after being found to have fuel oil on board with a sulphur content above 0.5%.

“The non-compliant fuel oil had a sulphur content of 1.38% and was discharged ashore with the fuel system undergoing a full clean,” the spokesperson said.

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“The ship was released from detention on 3 May 2020.”

From 1 January this year, ships must use fuel oil containing a maximum of 0.50% m/m sulphur and from 1 March this year, ships cannot carry fuel oil with a sulphur content of more than 0.50% m/m unless the fuel is being carried as cargo.

This is to ensure compliance with new rules introduced by the International Maritime Organization.

Maritime Industry Australia deputy CEO Angela Gillham said while they did not have all the details of this case, it would be of “key interest to the maritime industry”.

“The issues of supply of non-compliant fuel, the ability for PSC to detect non-compliance and the ability for non-compliant fuel to be offloaded were all well forecast in the lead up to the 1 January ban,” Ms Gillham said.

“Clearly the industry needs to know much more about the facts of this case to ensure any necessary lessons are learned.”

MIAL is hosting the ninth Sulphur Roundtable, via webinar on 20 May, which Ms Gillham said “may well provide an opportunity for industry and the regulator to examine and discuss the facts of this case”.

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