V Group urges owners to be proactive in preparation for 2020

Malcolm Latarche
Malcolm Latarche

25 April 2019

V.Group, the leading global marine and offshore vessel management and support services provider, has urged shipowners and operators to take a proactive approach to 2020 compliance. With the global sulphur cap less than nine months away, V.Group is seeing growing numbers of shipowners and operators developing Ship Implementation Plans (SIPs) to mitigate risks and minimise disruption.

It is predicted that most ships will burn ultra-low sulphur fuel oils (ULSFOs) to comply with the sulphur cap legislation, switching from high sulphur fuel oil (HFO) to ULSFOs with a sulphur content at, or below, 0.50%, unless equipped with scrubbers. New on the market, it is essential to understand how these fuels will impact fuel systems and engines, with common concerns centring around stability, compatibility, and cat fines.

Ship-specific implementation plans have been recommended by the IMO as a means to look at each vessel, understand exactly what needs to be done, empower the crew, start purchasing and loading compliant fuels, and ensure that the vessel is prepared and ready to operate on these new fuels.

While the IMO has made it very clear that a Fuel oil non-availability report (FONAR) does not represent a ‘get out of jail free’ card to use or carry non-compliant fuel, it has agreed that the SIP can be taken into consideration by the Administration and Port State Control when verifying compliance with the 0.5% sulphur limit, which could be particularly important if safe compliant fuels are unexpectedly unavailable during the initial weeks of implementation.

John Kerr, Global Head of Technical for Ship Management, V.Group, said: “While there remain many questions around policing and enforcement, the IMO has made it very clear that any vessel that does not meet these requirements risks being declared unseaworthy. This could result in heavy fines, penalties, detention, delays, and in the event of an insurance claim, even affect charter party and or indemnity cover.

“As the 0.5% global sulphur cap looms large, knowledge is power, and preparation key to a smooth transition into 2020 and beyond. Compliance is achievable but the right measures need to be put in place in a timely fashion. Ship Implementation Plans provide an effective means to achieve this, as well as providing evidence of environmentally compliant operations. We’re seeing increasing numbers of shipowners and operators adopting this approach and a significant proportion of our fleet is now 2020-ready.”