With the IMO 2020 marine fuel sulfur cap less than nine months away, ship management giant V.Group is urging shipowners and operators to take a proactive approach to 2020 compliance.
“While there remain many questions around policing and enforcement, the IMO has made it very clear that any vessel that does not meet these requirements risks being declared unseaworthy,” warns John Kerr, Global Head of Technical for Ship Management, V.Group. “This could result in heavy fines, penalties, detention, delays, and in the event of an insurance claim, even affect charter party and or indemnity cover.”
It is predicted that most ships will burn ultra low sulfur fuel oils (ULSFOs) to comply with the sulfur cap legislation, unless equipped with scrubbers.
V.Group says it is essential to understand how these new-on-the-market fuels will impact fuel systems and engines, with common concerns centering around stability, compatibility, and cat fines.
Growing numbers of shipowners and operators are developing Ship Implementation Plans (SIPs) to mitigate risks and minimize disruption. The plans have been recommended by IMO as a means to look at each vessel, understand exactly what needs to be done, empower the crew, start purchasing and loading compliant fuels, and ensure that the vessel is prepared and ready to operate on these new fuels.
V.Group says that IMO has agreed that the SIP can be taken into consideration by flag state and Port State Control agencies when verifying compliance with the 0.5% sulfur limit. This could be particularly important if safe compliant fuels are unexpectedly unavailable during the initial weeks of implementation.
“As the 0.5% global sulfur cap looms large, knowledge is power, and preparation key to a smooth transition into 2020 and beyond,” says John Kerr. “Compliance is achievable but the right measures need to be put in place in a timely fashion. Ship Implementation Plans provide an effective means to achieve this, as well as providing evidence of environmentally compliant operations. We’re seeing increasing numbers of shipowners and operators adopting this approach and a significant proportion of our fleet is now 2020-ready.”
V.Group says shipowners and operators are benefiting from its size and scale, leveraging the knowledge and expertise of its 3,000 shore-based staff and over 60 offices worldwide, which enables the provision of practical, accurate advice, tailored to the customer’s operating region and sector.