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ICS: Ships Could Face Detention Under New IMO ‘Carriage Ban’

Mike Schuler
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March 3, 2020
bunkering operations
Photo: By Alexander Zamaraev / Shutterstock

Ships carrying non-compliant high-sulphur fuel now face high fines and detention under new rules entering into force banning the carriage of such fuels, the International Chamber of Shipping warns.  

As of March 1, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted the “carriage ban” rule prohibiting to ships from carrying fuel oil with a sulphur content greater than 0.5 percent unless the ship is fitted with an Exhaust Gas Cleaning System, aka scrubber. 

The carriage ban is intended to make it easier for Port State Control authorities to enforce the IMO’s new 0.5 percent sulphur content limit that entered into force on January 1, 2020. Under the new rules, as of March 1, enforcement agencies will no longer have to prove usage, rather any vessel not equipped with a scrubber system and found carrying non-compliant fuel onboard will be enough to prove a violation. 

Major port state regimes including Paris MoU, Tokyo MoU and the United States Coast Guard (USCG), have made indicated to the ICS that they will rigorously enforce the new requirements.

As a result, the ICS is reminding shipowners and operators of the ban and reiterates the fact that any ships found to be non-compliant face the prospect of detention.

“Since the introduction of IMO 2020 on 1st January, ships have been given a ‘grace period’ while the industry transitions to low-sulphur fuel. As of 1st March this will no longer be the case. Any ship found in non-compliance faces the prospect of serious fines and even detention,” said Guy Platten, Secretary General of the ICS. 

“The International Chamber of Shipping has been made aware that major port State inspection regimes including the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) have made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that detention of ships found to be non-compliant is both possible and legally permissible,” Platten added.

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