Recording fuel and lube use onboard
Updated 11 Oct 2019
In its attempts to control pollution by oil, IMO regulations not only deal with practical matters but also cover the administrative aspects by the mandatory use of Oil Record Books. The Oil Record Book (ORB) is supposed to detail the management of all fuel and other oil on board and the fuel consumption and disposal of waste oils and used consumables such as filters that will by their very nature be contaminated with oil waste.
Maintaining the ORB accurately is essential for ships if they are to avoid PSC intervention and prosecution. The vast fines and custodial sentences meted out by US courts and other legal authorities are rarely direct punishment for illegal discharges – discharges outside territorial waters would not be actionable – but false record keeping since the ORB is considered as a legal document.
In addition to the international conventions, there are also a number of regional regulations concerning emissions which are influenced by fuel choice. Probably the most well-known are the EU’s directive on using ultra low-sulphur fuel in ports and the California Air Resources Board requirement for ships to switch from heavy fuel oil to low-sulphur marine distillate fuel before entering ‘Regulated California Waters’.