IMO approves indicative example of bunker supply licence
An indicative example of a licence for fuel oil supply has been approved by the 76th session of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 76), and added as annex to the Guidance for best practice for Member State/coastal State (MEPC.1/Circ.884).
It follows detailed discussions in a Correspondence Group (CG) set up after MEPC 75 in November last year. The CG was instructed to “review and amend, as appropriate, the indicative example of a licence for fuel oil supply” provided in a proposal by a group of shipping organisations in MEPC 75/5/2.
IBIA has been active in the CG to help make the indicative example as relevant as possible. Many of our proposed improvements were taken onboard and are reflected in the final version that was approved at MEPC 76.
In addition to the indicative example that was developed in the CG and approved at MEPC 76, an alternative text was also briefly considered. It differed significantly by describing the elements that should be considered in a licensing scheme, as opposed to detailing specifics.
“We see merit in both,” IBIA told MEPC 76, noting that while the indicative example provides a possible framework, it is very prescriptive in nature and therefore may not be fit for purpose in all Member States.
Throughout the discussion in the CG, IBIA has been stressing that it is important to note that the administration of bunker licensing schemes can vary significantly between ports and countries, as they have different resources and legal structures to implement and monitor adherence to the licences.
The indicative example is intended as a base document which IMO Member States might adopt voluntarily. It was made clear during MEPC 76 that it is a non-mandatory guidance document.
Meanwhile, IBIA has recently launched the IBIA Bunker Licensing & MFM working group, chaired with great skill by Alexander Prokopakis, the CEO of ProBunkers. This working group is supporting IBIA’s ambition to see effective and transparent bunker licensing schemes, preferably incorporating massflow meter (MFM) technology, in the world’s major bunker hubs.