A representative for ISO has confirmed to the IMO that the standards organisation has been given the green light to develop an ISO Publicly Available Specification (PAS) in response to a request from the IMO to provide an ISO standard that can better reflect the quality of fuels with no more than 0.50% sulphur.
The information was provided to the 72nd session of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 72) during discussions about consistent implementation of the 050% sulphur limit.
There will not be a full new revision of the ISO 8217 standard before 2020. The 6th edition of ISO 8217 was published in March 2017 and a full revision will likely take until at least 2021, and probably 2022.
The ISO representative explained to MEPC 72 that ISO 8217 is usually updated after user experience with the type of fuels that are in the market, and as so will not be amended at this time. Instead, he said work is underway on PAS 23263: “Guidelines for fuel suppliers and users regarding marine fuel quality considering the implementation of maximum 0.50%S in 2020,” and looks like it will be ready by the end of 2019.
The intention of PAS 23263 is to provide detailed guidance to fuel suppliers and users on the type of fuel blends that are anticipated to dominate the global bunker market in 2020.
ISO says that a PAS is published to respond to an urgent market need, representing either the consensus of the experts within a working group, or a consensus in an organization external to ISO.
There is a lot of concern in the market about the nature of fuel blends produced to meet the 0.50% sulphur limit, especially with regard to stability, compatibility with other fuels and cold flow properties. The PAS is expected to provide guidance to help prepare fuel suppliers and users to manage these aspects.