Shipping Groups Seek Phased Implementation of Marpol 2020

September 27, 2018

Three trade groups representing the shipping industry and four countries (Bahamas, Liberia, Marshall Islands and Panama) have jointly asked the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for a phased implementation of its rules restricting the amount of sulfur in fuel that ships burn, beginning on January 1, 2020. The petition to IMO on the rules, known as “Marpol 2020,” suggests that individual vessels should not be “unduly penalized” if they do not get the correct fuel. The submission said that a “hard start” could lead to safety issues as ships scramble to ensure they have onboarded compliant fuel.

“There is a lot of discussion about whether there will be enough compliant fuels available in 16 months,” said ILMA CEO Holly Alfano. “ILMA is concerned with the effects of Marpol 2020 both on what it means for base oil supplies for our members and demand for lubricants for the scrubbers that might be added to vessels by shipowners.”

The petition did not say how long the proposed phase-in might last. Under IMO’s protocols, amendments to its rules take 22 months to be fully implemented. IMO’s members are scheduled to consider the petition at a meeting next month.

“Individual shipping companies and refiners already have invested billions of dollars to prepare for Marpol 2020,” Alfano added. “ILMA will be monitoring developments closely for our members.”