The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) 2020 regulation has been “implemented successfully”, says IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim, with just 10 cases of compliant fuel being unavailable reported in the first 20 days.
The 0.5% global low sulphur for marine fuel, or IMO 2020, came into force on 1 January this year and there had been serious concerns from the industry over the availability of compliant fuel, especially in smaller ports served by ships on the tramp trades.
A statement from the IMO noted that while the prices of compliant very low sulphur fuel oil (VLFSO) and marine gas oil (MGO) rose sharply around the date of implementation these have now started to stabilise.
In terms of fuel availability by 20 January there had been just 10 cases of compliant fuel being unavailable had been reported in IMO’s Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS); and the dedicated email address established by the IMO Secretariat.
Lim said: “I believe it is testimony to the diligence and dedication of IMO, its Member States, the shipping industry, the fuel supply industry and other relevant industries that such a major rule change is being implemented successfully without significant disruption to maritime transport and those that depend on it.”
However, the industry has another deadline fast approaching on 1 March when vessels will not be allowed to carry high sulphur fuel onboard unless the vessel is fitted with a scrubber.
I urge all shipowners, operators and masters to comply with the carriage ban, where applicable, when it comes into effect. IMO will remain vigilant and ready to respond and provide any support,” Lim said.
“I would like to thank, sincerely, IMO Member Governments, the shipping industry and all stakeholders, including shippers and the fuel oil supply industry, for their efforts so far and to ask for further cooperation to ensure IMO 2020 is implemented properly.”
While implementation has been smooth in the early stages concerns in the industry remain over fuel quality issues and enforcement further down the line.