Non-Compliant High Sulfur Fuel Ban Agreed
The IMO has agreed to move forward with a prohibition on the carriage of not-compliant fuel oil as the new low sulfur limit which comes into force from January 1, 2020.
IMO’s Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR), which met February 5-9, agreed the draft amendments to the MARPOL Convention. Exception will be granted for ships fitted with an approved “equivalent arrangement” such as a scrubber. For a ship without an approved equivalent arrangement the sulfur content of any fuel oil carried for use on board shall not exceed 0.50 percent.
At the opening of the week-long IMO meeting, IMO's Secretary-General, Kitack Lim clearly communicated that there was no turning back; the global sulfur requirements will enter to force in 2020. The effect of the rules will be significant for both the environment and public health and must, therefore be implemented, Kitack Lim said. During the first days of the meeting, only a few countries expressed concerns about the year 2020 as the date of entry into force, so the discussion of the more technical proposals for enforcing the sulfur requirements proceeded quickly.
The Sub-Committee forwarded the proposed draft amendments to the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 72) meeting in April 2018, for urgent consideration. Once approved by MEPC 72, the draft amendments could be adopted at MEPC 73 (October 2018) and could enter into force on March 1, 2020 (just two months after the 0.50 percent limit comes into effect).
To assist with consistent implementation, the Sub-Committee agreed to develop a single set of Guidelines covering all relevant aspects. Consistent implementation of the 0.50 percent sulfur limit for all ships is expected to ensure a level playing field is maintained, with the result that the expected improvement of the environment and human health will be achieved.
The Sub-Committee also agreed on a reporting protocol for voluntary measurement studies to collect black carbon data as well as most appropriate black carbon measurement methods for data collection.
Black carbon is the product of incomplete combustion of carbon-based fuels. Black carbon emissions from ships contribute to climate change as a “short-lived climate pollutant.” The IMO has been looking at how to measure and report on black carbon emissions, as part of its work to consider the impact on the Arctic of black carbon emissions from international shipping.
Draft Guidelines for discharge of exhaust gas recirculation bleed-off water
The Sub-Committee also agreed on draft 2018 guidelines for the discharge of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) bleed-off water, for submission to MEPC 73, with a view to adoption.
One method for reducing NOX emissions to meet Tier III NOX emission levels is to use exhaust gas recirculation, which is an internal engine process resulting in a NOX reduction which will meet the requirements of the regulation. As a result of this process, condensate of exhaust gas will be generated and discharged as bleed-off water, which should be handled differently depending on the fuel oil sulfur content.
The Sub-Committee also agreed draft amendments to the NOX Technical Code 2008 relating to certification requirements for selective catalytic reduction systems.