News ID: 80445 |
Publish Date: 08:49 - 20 October 2019

Ships will be fined for non-compliance with IMO 2020

Those responsible for ships will be fined if found to be non-compliant with the International Maritime Organization’s low-sulphur rules which take effect on January 1, a fuels symposium at the IMO was told.

Although the amount of the penalty has not been decided yet, and depends on each port state, those responsible for ships will be liable for any non-compliance with the IMO rules no matter who is to blame


SHIPS, or rather those responsible for them, will be fined if found to be non-compliant after the implementation of the International Maritime Organization’s low-sulphur rules on January 1, attendees at a fuels symposium were told.

Denmark, which has issued fines for those not complying with the emission control areas, has yet to decide what the penalty for flaunting IMO 2020 rules should be, but it has called for a level playing field.

Its existing fines range from DKr20,000 to DKr200,000 ($3,000 to $30,000), with fines increasing for repeat offenders, which could lead to a blacklist or ban, said Clea Henrichsen, a special adviser in the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark.

It publishes the names of shipowners who breach 0.5% sulphur in the 0.1% ECA zones, and any breaches of 1% will be dealt with by the police.

The fuels symposium held at the IMO in London were told that sufficient quantities of compliant fuels will be available at major bunkering ports, with a supply squeeze expected in early January.

Demand was expected to materialise in the fourth quarter, according to the International Bunker Industry Association, but uptake has been low, with consumption at 5% currently versus 1% in mid-September.

IMO 2020 has been disruptive and “pains are being felt,” said Unni Einemo, the group’s director.

While availability of both compliant fuels and high sulphur fuel oil will be “unpredictable for a while,” the market will eventually adapt.

Intercargo, the dry bulk shipowner association, said that it regrets how the fuel industry did not provide the fuels early enough to be tested, which has potential safety implications.

“It is unacceptable that ships lose power in high seas,” it said.

Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism,said that the country's refineries shared samples of fuel and no compatibility issues were identified. It was ready for IMO 2020.

It trialled 12 ships and found normal combustion, with no sludge build-up, said Shin Imai, a maritime bureau director at the ministry.

Supply of compliant fuels had started this month, he said, adding that those who comply should be rewarded, while those who do not should be penalised.

The increased costs of bunkers will be shared by the whole society, with fuel surcharges imposed on the domestic coastal industry.

Singapore has an approved list of bunker suppliers, said Capt. M Segar, assistant chief executive of the country’s Maritime and Port Authority. Those suppliers found to be in breach will be removed from the list, he said.

Singapore is offering compliant fuels, and has been testing compatibility, he said, adding that there are port reception facilities for collection of scrubber residue, especially from closed-loop and hybrid systems. Shipboard incineration has been banned. 

Ships will need to demonstrate how they are complying before arrival, he said, with inspectors carrying portable sulphur test kits. 

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