EU to Increase Scrutiny of Bunker Suppliers' Fuel
The European Commission has issued a new contract tender for studying the monitoring of sulfur levels in fuel – at bunker suppliers' shoreside tanks.
In 2015, the European Commission put in place rules regarding enforcement strategies and reporting for bunkers aboard vessels operating in emissions control areas, including physical sampling and logbook checks. In Denmark, this has led to police investigations into repeat offenders: five unnamed firms have been referred for legal action based on the results of some 200 samples taken to date.
Some have warned that the fines – and the likelihood of getting caught – are low enough in the EU that there is a financial incentive to cheat on the requirements. The EC's decision also looks to improve enforcement by looking at the fuel supplier level – especially for suppliers of the fuels found to be out of compliance in shipboard inspections. "These provisions are currently targeting fuel suppliers which have been repeatedly found not to comply with the specification stated on the bunker delivery note, taking into account the volume of marine fuels marketed by the supplier in question,” the commission wrote.
The tender notes that in 2020, ECA requirements for sulfur content will extend worldwide (unless amended) –and that a shoreside enforcement network will be useful in advance of the global rollout.
In hopes of understanding and improving member states' efforts, the contractor will provide an analysis of four points: first, a study of how member states of the EU are enforcing the EC's rules for shoreside supplier inspections, including national-level registers of fuel suppliers, member state data on fuel quality, and any actions taken against suppliers found to be out of compliance; second, an overview of member state actions to ensure availability of compliant fuels; a study of the IMO system for fuel quality reporting; and a discussion process with member states' authorities for how to improve enforcement.