IMO to consider example of bunker license

An IMO correspondence group has been set up to “review and amend, as appropriate, the indicative example of a license for fuel oil supply”.

The “indicative example” for a voluntary licensing scheme for bunker suppliers is a document submitted to the Marine Environment Protection Committee by ICS, BIMCO, INTERTANKO and WSC earlier this year. The proposal,  MEPC 75/5/2, will be considered as the basis for an annex to the official IMO Guidance for best practice for Member State/coastal State (MEPC.1/Circ.884).

Due to time constraints, a number of the documents submitted to the 75th session of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 75, 16-20 November 2020) were deferred until MEPC 76. As that has also been scheduled as a virtual meeting, with severe time constraints, development of proposals usually undertaken in working groups during MEPC meetings is now being dealt with by correspondence ahead of MEPC 76.

There was a brief discussion during MEPC 75 of the terms of reference for the correspondence group, where it was agreed that the indicative example in MEPC 75/5/2 should be reviewed and amended, as appropriate “taking into account best practices, as well as the document MSC 94/INF.8 and other licensing regimes” before MEPC 76 is asked to approve it as an annex to the Guidance for best practice for Member State/coastal State (MEPC.1/Circ.884).

MSC 94/INF.8 contains information about Singapore’s SS 600 and SS 524 bunkering standards, which must be adhered to by all bunkering services providers who operate within the Port of Singapore.

IBIA held a meeting for our members at the end of September to discuss the intention set by the board of IBIA to push for the implementation of bunker licensing schemes in major bunkering hubs. Singapore has set a great example, and by introducing similar licensing schemes elsewhere it would help provide a consistent standard of service in major bunkering hubs around the world. The meeting was also invited to discuss the proposal to the IMO containing an indicative example of a voluntary licensing scheme for bunker suppliers (MEPC 75/5/2).

There indicative example of a license to be discussed in the IMO correspondence group is intended as a base document which states might adopt voluntarily.

There will be synergies between the work at the IMO and IBIA’s efforts to identify the elements that would benefit bunker licensing schemes in major bunkering hubs, but it is important to note that the administration of bunker licensing schemes can vary significantly between ports and countries, as they have different resources and legal structures to implement and monitor adherence to the licenses.

Report by Unni Einemo

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