The International Bunker Industry Association has welcomed the U.K. government’s call for the International Maritime Organization to expedite the release of its study on the availability of 0.50 percent sulphur fuel.
“Our members need clarity and the sooner that the availability study is undertaken, the better,” said Peter Hall, IBIA’s chief executive, in a written statement.
In 2008, the IMO agreed to limit sulphur emissions from shipping. The sulphur limit for fuel used in seas other than specifically designated emission control areas, which have stricter limits, is currently 3.50 percent, and will be reduced to 0.50 percent beginning Jan. 1, 2020, subject to a review of the availability of 0.50 percent sulphur fuel. Depending on the outcome of the availability study, the deadline could be extended to 2025.
Under Annex VI to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, commonly known as the MARPOL convention, the IMO requires the review of the availability of 0.50 percent sulphur fuel to have been completed by 2018, with the start date of the review expected to begin between 2015 and 2017. However, a decision on the exact date for the start of the review has not yet been announced.
“It is important for IMO to act now to have a clear picture on the availability of the required quantity of the low-sulphur fuel as soon as possible,” said Koji Sekimizu, IMO secretary-general, at the London International Shipping Week event in London last week.
As more locations declare emissions control area requirement regulations, the latest being Hong Kong this week, the greater the demand for low sulphur fuel, IBIA said.
“The shipping industry needs some definitive dates to plan implementations on board; the same information is required for the refining industry and the bunker section,” IBIA explained. “Uncertainty around dates is likely to delay crucial investment decisions and IBIA believes that the shipping and oil industries need clarity.”
Masamichi Morooka, chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping, said earlier this year that this impending environmental legislation will cost the shipping industry more than half a trillion dollars between 2015 and 2025.