IBIA’s best practice for suppliers to form basis for developing IMO guidance

IBIA’s best practice for suppliers to form basis for developing IMO guidance

The first edition of IBIA’s “Best practice guidance for suppliers for assuring the quality of bunkers delivered to ships” was welcomed by the 72nd session of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 72) last week, where it was agreed that it would be a good basis for the development of IMO guidance.

For the past few years, an IMO Correspondence Group on Fuel oil quality (CG) has been working on developing draft guidance on best practice for assuring the quality of fuel oil delivered for use on board ships. The initial aim was to produce a trinity of such guidance documents: one for bunker purchasers/users; one for bunker suppliers; and one for Member States/coastal States. However, at MEPC 69, the CG’s work on best practice for suppliers was paused and the Committee agreed that IMO should encourage the supply industry to develop a best practice document and present it to MEPC in due course.

Introducing our document to MEPC 72 last week, IBIA’s IMO representative, Unni Einemo said: “We have developed an IBIA best practice guidance for bunker suppliers, which, simply put, aims to ensure that the quality of bunkers delivered to ships meets 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 underlying principle when developing IBIA’s guidance was to identify and mitigate quality risks at all stages from the production of bunkers to delivery to ship.”

IBIA proposed that our paper could form the base document if the Committee wished to have a trinity of IMO best practice guidance document with regards to fuel quality. There was broad consensus that this was desirable and that IBIA’s document should form the basis for developing the IMO guidance for suppliers.

Several member states complemented IBIA’s best practice document, however, some raised concerns about our document making references to ISO 4259 in the chapter on testing and interpretation of test results, arguing that only appendix VI of MARPOL Annex VI (sulphur verification procedures’ for the MARPOL sample) should be referenced. There is also resistance to making references to ISO standards in the chapter on representative sampling, as many believe only the IMO Guidelines in Resolution MEPC.182(59) for taking the MARPOL sample should be referenced.

MEPC 72 agreed to use IBIA’s best practice document as the basis and invite member states and organisations with observer status at the IMO to submit their comments to it to MEPC 73 (October 2018), so that development of an IMO best practice guidance can progress at that session.

MEPC 73 will also discuss draft best for Member States/coastal States developed by the IMO Correspondence Group on Fuel oil quality, which IBIA participates in.

IBIA once again calls on our members to implement the best practices and let us know how workable it is. We are open to revising the document in due course in response to constructive feedback and evolving needs.

In light of the document now also forming the basis to develop IMO guidance, industry feedback is essential. You can download a copy of IBIA’s best practice guidance for bunker suppliers on this link.

On a separate note, the draft best practice for bunker purchasers/users which IBIA co-sponsored with ICS and INTERTANKO was approved at MEPC 72 last week, with only minor amendments made.

This will be issued along with an MEPC circular asking IMO Member Governments to bring it to the attention of their Administration, industry, relevant shipping organisations, shipping companies and other stakeholders.


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