New regulatory requirements regarding the information to be included in the bunker delivery note (BDN) will enter into force on 1 January 2019, after amendments to appendix V of MARPOL Annex VI were adopted at the 71st session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee. IBIA put forward a paper to MEPC 71, explaining that several elements of the text that was up for adoption are problematic.
Below is the text of the newly adopted Appendix V, “Information to be included in the bunker delivery note (regulation 18.5)” that is set to take effect on 1 January, 2019:
Name and IMO Number of receiving ship
Date of commencement of delivery
Name, address and telephone number of marine fuel oil supplier
Quantity in metric tonnes
Density at 15°C (kg/m3 )
Sulphur content (% m/m)
A declaration signed and certified by the fuel oil supplier’s representative that the fuel oil supplied is in conformity with regulation 18.3 of this Annex and that the sulphur content of the fuel oil supplied does not exceed:
□ the limit value given by regulation 14.1 of this Annex;
□ the limit value given by regulation 14.4 of this Annex; or
□ the purchaser’s specified limit value of _____(% m/m), as completed by the fuel oil supplier’s representative and on the basis of purchaser’s notification that the fuel oil is intended to be used:
.1 in combination with an equivalent means of compliance in accordance with regulation 4 of this Annex; or
.2 is subject to a relevant exemption for a ship to conduct trials for sulphur oxides emission reduction and control technology research in accordance with regulation 3.2 of this Annex.
This declaration shall be completed by the fuel oil supplier’s representative by marking the applicable box(es) with a cross (x).”
The issues raised by IBIA were, in brief, that the text under the third tick box does not take into account potential non-availability situations, lends itself to clerical errors, and creates confusion about the respective responsibility of suppliers and ships with regards to complying with MARPOL Annex VI.
IBIA’s IMO representative, when introducing our paper at MEPC 71, asked the Committee to consider three separate issues before adopting the amendments to appendix V: “Firstly, the incompatibility of the new text with non-availability situations which we must prepare to deal with after the 1st of January 2020, secondly the fact that the text asks the supplier’s representative to declare something only the ship’s representative can actually vouch for, and thirdly, that we should endeavour to make the text clearer by adding the sulphur limits associated with regulation 14.1 and 14.4 next to the relevant tick boxes. (Click here for the full statement made by IBIA when introducing our paper to MEPC 71)
While there was some support for IBIA’s views and proposals for improving the new text in appendix V, it was rejected. However, following the report from the drafting group tasked with providing the final text for adoption, IBIA was able to get clarifications on how the issues we raised can be addressed in practice.
The drafting group’s report stated:
“In reviewing the amendments to appendix V related to the information to be included in the bunker delivery note, the Group was of the view that replacing the reference to “this Annex” with “Annex VI of MARPOL” would provide better clarity, particularly if the text was extracted into a standalone form. Having further noted that, whilst the format of the information provided, notably the checkboxes, gave the impression that this should be used as a template of the declaration, the Group recognized that this was not the case. Taking this into account and noting that change in the reference would likely generate significant debate in plenary, the Group agreed to retain the reference to “this Annex” in the text, as proposed.
“However, the Group recognized that it may be beneficial for Administrations to bring to the attention of interested parties that the text of appendix V of the Annex is given in its regulatory form. In contrast, where the declaration is to be given in bunker delivery notes, it will need to be, as is already the case, rephrased to reflect that different usage and hence the references to “this Annex” as given by appendix V need to be replaced by references to “Annex VI of MARPOL”.”
As the drafting group report and final text for adoption was presented to the Committee in plenary on Friday, IBIA made an intervention.
“First of all, we fully endorse the view of the drafting group that when extracting the regulatory text to the actual BDN, it will be beneficial for clarity to replace “this Annex” with “Annex VI to MARPOL”. In the same spirit of enhancing clarity on the BDN, we will advise our members to include a reference to the actual sulphur limit associated with the relevant regulation number on the document,” IBIA told MEPC 71.
IBIA then sought clarification to understand, if appendix V of MARPOL Annex VI is not intended to be used as a template, but rather informs us of the regulatory requirement for information to be included, how it is envisaged that the two specific sub-conditions below the third tick box to justify the supply of fuel with the purchasers specified sulphur limit value (as opposed to a fuel meeting specific regulatory limits) should be translated to the BDN.
“Will the BDN need to specify that the supplier was notified that the vessel supplied has abatement technology or has an exemption to trial such technology? And will there be a requirement to specify which one of these notifications the purchaser provided?” IBIA asked.
This had not been considered by the drafting group; however a clarification was offered that was considered and agreed by the Committee ,as follows: If it had been intended that the two specific sub-points after the third tick box were to be included in the BDN format, there would have been a tick box against them, and that is not the case. As such, the third tick box only requires that the sulphur value specified by the purchaser is entered. There is no requirement for validation by the supplier on the BDN as to which method of compliance is used by the ship. Validation will exist onboard the ship.
IBIA also checked with knowledgeable parties among delegations and within the IMO Secretariat whether the regulatory text actually requires a tick box system, as the requirement to “marking the applicable box(es) with a cross (x)” seems to indicate that it does. The consensus is that it doesn’t have to be a tick box system as long as the required information is included. It could, for example be put on separate lines or bullet points and the supplier’s representative can delete any line/bullet point that does not apply. If a supplier only ever intends to provide one type of fuel, the BDN needs only to contain the particular line of text corresponding to it.
Having regard to the above, IBIA offers the following suggestions to those of its members that need to provide BDNs:
- Make the text as clear and error-proof as possible, especially if using tick boxes.
- For new BDNs issued from the 1 January 2020, we would suggest that the first tick box text could read:
0.50% m/m as per the limit value in regulation 14.1 of MARPOL Annex VI
- For BDNs issued during 2019, we would suggest that the first tick box text could read: 3.50% m/m or 0.50% m/m as per the limit value in regulation 14.1 of MARPOL Annex VIThe supplier’s representative can then simply delete the sulphur value that doesn’t apply at the time of delivery. This format could still be used in 2020 by deleting “3.50% m/m” and could also be used to help ship operators that wish to buy fuel complying with the 0.50% sulphur limit prior to 1 January, 2020, by deleting “3.50% m/m”.
- If a purchaser specifies a sulphur limit value that is not covered by the first two tick boxes, seeing as the regulatory text says this should be provided on the basis of the purchaser’s notification regarding how the fuel oil is intended to be used, we would recommend that the supplier (or the supplier’s representative) obtains such notification in a format that they can keep a copy of for their own records.
- Make sure the purchaser’s specified sulphur limit value is correctly filled if using the third tick box. We would not recommend including specific information regarding the ship’s intended use of the fuel.
- If you are providing more than one product intended to meet two or more different sulphur limits, we would recommend that you provide a separate BDN for each product. If a ship has taken fuel oil intended for use in an emission control area, only the second tick box (regulation 14.4) declares that this limit is being met, so it isn’t helpful for the ship if the first and/or third tick boxes are also marked with a cross.
Of course these guidelines are generalisations and suppliers will need to adapt them to their particular needs and may even wish to consult with their national authorities about what is expected. But the key messages are: be prepared, be precise and, above all, ensure that operatives fully understand the importance of the changes to BDNs and the need for compliance.
IBIA will continue to maintain a vigilant eye on this issue and will keep its members informed of any further significant developments.