Transition to new rules in North American ECA ‘relatively easy’

Shipowners and operators have experienced a “relatively easy” transition to new sulphur regulations enforced at the start of the year in the North American Emission Control Area (ECA), according to Adrian Tolson, managing director for Aegean Oil (USA).
As of January 1, 2015, shipowners and operators are required to burn fuels consisting of a sulphur content no higher than 0.10% while navigating in ECAs.
“It was relatively easy. We’ve not seen too many problems,” Tolson was quoted as saying, while on the sidelines of the Connecticut Maritime Association (CMA)’s Shipping 2015 conference held this week.
He told Lloyd’s List that few shipowners and operators have had problems finding fuels due to readily available marine gas oil (MGO). The news provider said data from the US Coast Guard (USCG) revealed that there were 13 bunker non-availability reports as of mid-March this year. It added that the total is less than the total for the same period a year ago.
According to Tolson, this is because US players were better prepared this time around compared to the first stage of ECA rules that saw the sulphur cap drop to 1.00% from 3.5% just a few years ago. “The 1% sulphur grade was a new product then… this time, people are more prepared.”
He added that many shipowners have been reluctant to purchase ultra-low sulphur fuel oil due to compatibility and storage issues. As a result, Tolson said only a few refiners are willing to supply it.
“Getting a critical mass to supply to is a problem. We don’t see us market[ing] that product in the US.”

Ashley Bhan, Vancouver News Desk, 26th March 2015 20:57 GMT

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