Ships that don't meet sulfur limit could be deemed "unseaworthy"

 Edmund Hughes, Head of Air Pollution and Energy Efficiency at IMO's Marine Environment Division Edmund Hughes, Head of Air Pollution and Energy Efficiency at IMO's Marine Environment Division

NOVEMBER 16, 2017 — Edmund Hughes, Head of Air Pollution and Energy Efficiency at IMO's Marine Environment Division, reminded delegates at an Athens conference this week that the 0.50% limit on sulfur in fuel oil will enter into force on January 1, 2020, without any delay.

How to ensure consistent implementation will be the subject of important discussions at IMO'S Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR 5), both at its session in February 2018 and during an intersessional working group to be held later in 2018.

Compliance, enforcement and monitoring will be the responsibility of both flag states and port states.

The bunkering industry will also have a part to play in ensuring high sulfur fuel oil continues to be supplied to ships equipped with approved equivalent methods, such as exhaust gas scrubbers.

Mr. Hughes reminded delegates of the commercial imperative for ships to be compliant. In addition to possible detention - which would make the ship a high risk for future port state inspection decisions - a non-compliant ship could be considered as being "unseaworthy," affecting its charter party and its indemnity in the event of an insurance claim.

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