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Nederlandsche
P&I Club

Update Volume 2019/13 IMO Sulphur Cap-reduction of sulphur emission

Veröffentlicht am 25 Juli 2019

As you know the IMO will lower the existing Sulphur cap as per 1 January 2020. This will result in more stringent regulations in relation to the types of fuel that a vessel is allowed to use. 

The Sulphur cap is an important part of IMO MARPOL Annex VI “Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships”. Since this regulation came into force in 2005 the Sulphur cap has been gradually reduced to the current limit of 3.5% for all areas outside of designated Emission Control Areas (ECAs). Since 1 January 2015 the maximum limit within these ECAs is 0.1%.

As per 1 January 2020 the worldwide sulphur cap will be drastically reduced from 3.5% to 0.5%. This means that from that date vessels will not be allowed to run on fuel with higher sulphur limits unless these vessels use scrubbers. There is, however, a small grace period up to the 1st of March of 2020 which allows vessels to get the high sulphur fuels off board. This means that even though you cannot use high sulphur fuels as per 1 January 2020 you can still carry it on board until 1 March 2020. Please note that the limit within the ECAs will remain 0.1%.

Penalties for non-compliance are likely to include fines and possibly, in severe cases, a PSC banning order. Subject to the discretion of the Board, MARPOL violations are not covered under our Rules and this is likely to include violations of the amendments to the regulation.  This means that the Club may be unable to provide security. Our position regarding MARPOL related claims therefor remains unamended and is consistent with the International Group.

The 2020 Sulphur Cap may result in new risks, for example where there is a technical failure of an otherwise approved scrubber which was undetectable by the exercise of due diligence, causes the accidental discharge of non-compliant emissions or the discharge of polluting wash-water. There have been suggestions that non-compliance in such circumstances with the Sulphur Cap provisions in MARPOL may have the effect of rendering a vessel unseaworthy. In the event that you have any questions please contact the Club.

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