IBIA part of debate as MEPC 70 agrees on 2020 for global cap
The International Maritime Organization’s Marine Environment Protection Committee has, as expected, agreed to implement the global 0.50% sulphur limit in 2020. The decision will be formalised once the implementing resolution has been adopted on Friday.
IBIA is pleased that the decision has been made, giving all industry stakeholders certainty. There is much work to be done with only three years left before the 0.50% limit takes effect.
The Committee arrived at the decision by consensus with most countries that spoke supporting the 2020 date. A significant number of countries wanted a delay to 2025, because they had doubts about sufficient availability for 2020. There were also several countries expressing a desire to have a more phased introduction as proposed by IBIA.
IBIA presented a paper to MEPC 70 which outlined that going from global consumption and supply of chiefly residual heavy fuel oil products meeting the current 3.50% global sulphur limit to a 0.50% limit is change on a completely unprecedented scale for the refinery industry that presents a number of transitional challenges.
Introducing the document, IBIA’s IMO Representative, Unni Einemo said: “We believe it would be better to have a more phased introduction, allowing the market to adapt more gradually, thereby preventing a sudden severe strain on global product supply and prices, allowing a longer period for owners to install abatement technology rather than a last minute rush, and gaining experience with new low sulphur fuel formulations in a more controlled manner, without the entire global fleet becoming a test bed. Fixing the start date for a phased process, and defining a clear line of progress toward a complete transition to the global sulphur cap, could give industry the certainty it desires.”
IBIA’s paper offered a menu of options which could, on their own, or in combination; help to make the transition smoother. Several countries made reference to elements in IBIA’s paper as they spoke about which implementation date to support.
IBIA aims to continue to support the IMO’s work to raise awareness of the issues that may arise in connection with implementing the global cap and find ways to make the transition as smooth as possible.
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