Singapore Finds High Degree of Compliance with IMO 2020 Sulfur Rules

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By The Maritime Executive 04-27-2020 07:21:00

Singapore's Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) reported Monday that it is seeing a high degree of compliance with the new IMO 2020 fuel sulfur cap. In the first quarter of the year - the first three months after the new rule took effect - 96 percent of ships inspected were found to be using compliant fuel. 

In the first quarter, MPA conducted a total of 326 inspections in the Port of Singapore. During these inspections, MPA found 12 ships, which were not fitted with scrubbers, using fuel that slightly exceeded the new sulphur limit of 0.5 percent. The agency believes that this was likely due to remaining residues of high-sulphur fuel in the ships' fuel oil tanks and piping. 

"It is expected that in time, the fuel oil tanks and piping will be properly flushed with the continual use of compliant fuel," MPA assessed. The vessels' ship managers and flag states were informed of these non-compliance incidents, but detentions were not issued. 

An additional two ships were found to be using non-compliant fuel. They were detained and only permitted to leave after switching to 0.5 percent sulfur content bunkers. 

Singapore has banned the discharge of wash water from open-loop scrubbers, and the inspection program discovered no violations. No ship installed with an open-loop scrubber was found to be operating this equipment in the Port of Singapore. As a flag state, Singapore has received about 30 reports of scrubber malfunction from its flagged ships. 

"By engaging the industry proactively, providing the necessary technical guidance and maintaining an adequate supply of compliant fuel in Singapore, we have ensured a high degree of compliance with IMO 2020 sulphur regulations. Singapore will continue to play its part to make shipping clean and sustainable," said Goh Chung Hun, MPA director of marine. 

Due to collapsing demand for oil and oil products, the price spread between standard heavy fuel oil and very low-sulfur fuel oil has dropped dramatically. As of Monday, VLSFO was only $33 a ton (20 percent) more than HFO at Rotterdam.