IMO calls transition to 2020 sulfur cap “relatively smooth”

Written by Nick Blenkey
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IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim says rule change is being implemented successfully without significant disruption to maritime transport

The International Maritime Organization says that information from various sources has indicated there has been a relatively smooth transition to the 0.50% global limit on sulfur in marine fuels that came effective January 1.

Prices for compliant fuels — very-low sulfur fuel oil (VLSFO) and marine gas oil (MGO) rose quickly initially, says IMO, but now appear to be stabilizing.

As of January 20, only 10 cases of compliant fuel being unavailable had been reported in IMO’s Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS); and a dedicated email address established by the IMO Secretariat ([email protected]) has not received any specific correspondence reporting issues with implementation.

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said, “I believe it is testimony to the diligence and dedication of IMO, its member states, the shipping industry, the fuel supply industry and other relevant industries that such a major rule change is being implemented successfully without significant disruption to maritime transport and those that depend on it.”

He added, “The next important target is fast approaching, when carrying non-compliant fuel oil on board ships becomes prohibited on March 1, 2020. I urge all shipowners, operators and masters to comply with the carriage ban, where applicable, when it comes into effect. IMO will remain vigilant and ready to respond and provide any support.”

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