IBIA plays key role as IMO finalises guidance on best practice for fuel oil suppliers

IBIA plays key role as IMO finalises guidance on best practice for fuel oil suppliers

The 73rd session of The Marine Environment Protection Committee last week approved a draft MEPC circular which will contain the IMO’s Guidance on best practice for fuel oil suppliers for assuring the quality of fuel oil delivered to ships.

Nigel Draffin and Unni Einemo

IBIA’s Director and IMO Representative, Unni Einemo, was joined by the enormously knowledgeable IBIA board member Nigel Draffin during MEPC 73. They participated actively in the Air Pollution working group tasked with finalising IMO best practice guidance for fuel oil suppliers during MEPC 73.

IBIA has played a key role in developing the IMO guidance. The final version was largely based on best practice for fuel oil suppliers provided by IBIA to MEPC 72 earlier this year, where it was agreed to invite proposals using IBIA’s best practice document as the basis for developing IMO guidance, and invite proposals to MEPC 73.

A group of co-sponsors; representing both the shipping industry and the fuel oil supply industry, cooperated on a number of primarily editorial improvements of IBIA’s original document in a bid to produce guidance that would be acceptable to all parties and aligned with other IMO guidance. The co-sponsors were IBIA, ICS, INTERTANKO and IPIECA. The final version approved by MEPC 73 last week made only a few small changes to the draft submitted by the co-sponsors in MEPC 74/5/4.

IBIA is proud to have assisted in the process allowing for the IMO guidance document to be finalised in such a short time; with just two MEPC sessions required from presenting the first draft until the final version was approved.

Unni Einemo, who was the lead author of IBIA’s original best practice guidance document submitted to MEPC 72, says the IBIA document aims to advice on steps suppliers should take to ensure the quality of bunkers delivered to ships meet the agreed purchase specifications and applicable global and local regulations. “While the vast majority of bunkers delivered meet these requirements, quality can be unintentionally adulterated at various stages in the supply chain. The guidance seeks to identify and promote best practices to mitigate quality risks throughout the entire chain,” she says.

She adds: “Combined with the best practice guidance for buyers/purchasers approved at MEPC 72, and the draft best practice for Member States/coastal States being developed by the Correspondence Group on Fuel Oil Quality, all aspects of quality control will be addressed. Hopefully this will help all stakeholders in ensuring better understanding of what it takes to ensure that ships are provided with bunker fuels that meet their operational requirements. This could become even more critical as we approach the 0.50% sulphur limit taking effect in 2020 , when we are likely to see a range of unfamiliar fuel blends that will require due diligence from all parties.”

Work on developing Guidance on Best practice for Member States/coastal States did not progress much during MEPC 73 as it was felt that the draft developed by the correspondence group had too many areas where it had not yet been possible to reach consensus or a conclusion.

MEPC 73 agreed to re-establish the Correspondence Group on Fuel Oil Quality. The aim is to submit a draft for finalisation and approval at MEPC 74.

IBIA has been taking part in this Correspondence Group and intends to continue to do so. IBIA members who wish to participate in formulating IBIA’s input to the Correspondence Group should contact Unni Einemo by email on unni@ibia.net

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