UAE promises light touch on 2020 enforcement

Malcolm Latarche

Malcolm Latarche · 18 December 2019


Vessels calling at UAE ports including the bunkering hub of Fujairah will be treated to a light touch over 2020 fuel compliance according to a report on the news organisation Arabian Business’ website.

The report quotes Federal Transport Authority chairman Abdullah Al Nuaimi as saying “It's not going to be from day one' that the UAE starts imposing penalties. It’s very important to realise that we look at things not in terms of ‘either you do this or you will be paralysed.’ We think: ‘what would be the easiest way for you to operate within our environment?’”


While the UAE ratified the rules in May, it won’t rush to punish non-compliant ships, he said. The nation’s position matters because it’s home to Fujairah, where thousands of ships go to refuel each year when calling at ports in the oil-rich Middle East.

However, the report also says that UAE authorities nevertheless do anticipate a high level of compliance. “Vessels with the wrong fuel in their tanks won’t be welcome”, said Mousa Murad, managing director at Port of Fujairah. Shipping agents must notify the authorities if a vessel heading to a UAE. port is carrying non-compliant fuel and ships will be subject to spot checks, he said, adding that it may still take two years for full compliance with the rules to be reached worldwide.

Fujairah has already banned open loop scrubbers and Al Nuaimi said that ships rejected by another port for non-compliance should not call in the UAE.

Enforcement of the 2020 rules has become a subject for debate after some countries such as Indonesia and India have been critical of its effect on domestic shipping. New Zealand – which is not yet a signatory to MARPOL Annex VI – voted last week to ratify the Annex after a public consultation exercise and will soon be enforcing all of the requirements covering emissions from vessels.

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