International Maritime Organization's (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) has adopted a measure prohibiting vessels without scrubbers from carrying fuels containing more than 0.5% sulphur for use on board.
The so-called carriage ban amendment passed on Friday (26 October) at MEPC 73 without comment from the committee, and it is expected to enter into force on 1 March 2020 under IMO's ‘tacit acceptance’ procedure.
The new 0.5% limit on sulphur in ships’ fuel oil, known as the sulphur cap, will enter into force from 1 January 2020, under IMO’s Marpol treaty.
The complementary Marpol amendment will prohibit the carriage of non-compliant fuel oil for combustion purposes for propulsion or operation on board a ship – as opposed to cargo – unless the ship has an exhaust gas cleaning system, commonly called a ‘scrubber’ fitted. Scrubber systems are an accepted alternative means to meet the sulphur limit requirement.
According to IMO, “The amendment is intended as an additional measure to support consistent implementation and compliance and provide a means for effective enforcement by states, particularly port state control.”