Following the adoption of Guidance on best practice for Member States/coastal States, the IMO now has a trinity of best practice documents aimed at key stakeholders affected by fuel quality issues under MARPOL Annex VI. The latest in the series is intended to assist Member States in carrying out their responsibilities under this regulation to ensure effective implementation and enforcement of statutory requirements.
The guidance says that Member States/coastal States should consider actions deemed appropriate under domestic legal arrangements with respect to promoting the availability of fuel oils that comply with the sulphur limits and general quality requirements in MARPOL Annex VI. It adds that member States or other relevant authorities desiring to do so may decide to establish or promote a licensing scheme for bunker suppliers.
The latest guidance was finalised and adopted at the 74th session of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 74). The document has been developed by the Correspondence Group on Fuel oil quality, and complement best practices for fuel oil purchasers and fuel oil suppliers to ensure the provision of fuel oils in accordance with the quality requirements of MARPOL Annex VI.
IBIA has contributed significantly to all these documents through participation in the correspondence group and submissions to the MEPC, in particular to the best practice for bunker suppliers which is largely based on a document provided by IBIA to MEPC 72.
IBIA also submitted a document to the latest meeting, MEPC 74/5/25, with some suggestions to enhance the best practice guidance document for Member States, most of which were accepted. The finalised best practice guidance for member States will be issued in an MEPC circular.
Apart from the latest best practice document, MEPC 74 also approved an MSC-MEPC circular on “Delivery of compliant fuel oil by suppliers”, subject to approval by the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 101) in June. The draft circular says that Members States should urge fuel oil suppliers to take into account, as relevant: MEPC.1/Circ.875 Guidance on best practice for fuel oil purchasers/users for assuring the quality of fuel oil used on board ships; and MEPC.1/Circ.875/Add.1 Guidance on best practice for fuel oil suppliers for assuring the quality of fuel oil delivered to ships.