Liberia has submitted a paper to the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) calling for early reporting on the availability of fuel oil that is compliant with the new 0.50 percent global fuel oil sulphur limit well in advance of 1 January 2020, the effective date the new fuel oil must be used on board ships.
David Pascoe, Senior VP, Maritime Operations and Standards, Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry (LISCR), the US-based manager of the Liberian Registry, says, “Shipowners and operators hold a disproportionate responsibility in meeting the challenges associated with implementation of the 0.50 percent m/m global fuel oil sulphur limit and should not need to guess where or whether compliant fuel will be available.
“Smooth and effective implementation requires co-operation and compliance by all stakeholders, including states and fuel oil suppliers. It is critical that states carry out their responsibilities under MARPOL and SOLAS to promote the availability of fuel oils that are safe and which comply with the new sulphur limit, and report availability in their ports and terminals to IMO. IMO has established the means for states to effectively report through IMO’s Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS).
“We are therefore urging IMO to issue a resolution or circular calling on states to report the availability of compliant fuel oil well in advance of 1 January 2020 to help shipowners and operators meet their responsibilities and to gain experience on the carriage and use of the new fuels on their ships, to test implementation plans, and to assist in a smooth and effective transition to the new regulatory requirements.”
Liberia’s submission to IMO comes after its co-sponsorship, together with major flags and industry organizations, of an IMO paper proposing the establishment of an Experience Building Phase (EBP) to help address the safety implications and other challenges associated with 2020-compliant fuels. Contrary to some inaccurate media reports, the paper proposing the EBP is not intended to delay the 1 January, 2020 compliance date. That date has been agreed previously and supported by Liberia.”