IMO Sub-Committee to Work on 0.50% Sulphur Fuel Limit

Sarah Carter
Sarah Carter

21 January 2017


The International Maritime Organization's (IMO's) Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR) has laid out plans for work the committee will undertake in 2018 and 2019 to support a "smooth and effective" 2020 implementation of a global 0.50 percent sulphur cap on marine fuels.

The proposed work would be aimed at exploring what actions may be taken to ensure consistent and effective implementation of the 0.50% sulphur limit as well as actions that may facilitate effective policies by IMO Member States. The IMO’s decision in October 2016 to introduce a global 0.5% sulphur cap on marine fuels from 2020 took many industry professionals by surprise, as the organisation had previously said it was also considering implementing the cap from 2025.

The sub-committee will work to develop a draft standard format for reporting fuel oil non-availability, as well as guidance to assist Member States and stakeholders in assessing the sulfur content of fuel oil delivered to ships.

The shipping industry is concerned with how they can achieve their goal of universal low-sulphur use within the timeframe provided by the IMO. The shipping community has hit out at the IMO decision saying that the regulation is not cost-effective for the shipping industry, especially considering that low-sulphur marine fuel costs twice as much as sulphur marine fuel.

Meanwhile, the Sub-Committee finalised the draft Code for the transport and handling of hazardous and noxious liquid substances in bulk on offshore support vessels (OSV Chemical Code).

The OSV Code aims to provide a consistent regulatory framework for the transport and handling of hazardous and noxious liquid substances in bulk on offshore support vessels with a single certification scheme, taking into account the complex and continued evolution of the offshore industry as well as the unique design features and service characteristics of these vessels.