The UK Chamber of Shipping has said it still has concerns about four key areas that need to be addressed before the 2020 deadline.
“The new regulation will change the face of the shipping industry and it will have a positive impact on the environment,” says Anna Ziou, policy director at the UK Chamber of Shipping.
"But it could have a disruptive effect on operations if ship owners do not prepare effectively.
“Ship owners need certainty in order to implement and make decisions that will achieve compliance with the 2020 regulation.
“There are still a number of pending issues and the industry is still awaiting publication of key guidance from international agencies that will help mitigate any risks.
“As far as we are concerned the four key areas that need to be addressed before the 2020 deadline are:
- How the regulation will be consistently enforced globally
- Education on how new compliant fuel should be handled
- How ship owners can report compliance issues to competent authorities
- Mitigation of any safety issues related to switching to low-sulphur fuel
“There are other, more complex unknowns to deal with as well.
“It is not yet certain whether there will be a sufficient supply of IMO-compliant marine fuel to meet the increased demand that will begin from the fourth quarter of this year onwards, as ship owners prepare their vessels to be compliant on 1st January.
“The quality of these new marine fuels also needs to be assured.
“Price volatility is a concern too and the tight supply of compliant fuel is expected to force prices upwards – possibly by hundreds of dollars per tonne.
“Scrubbers could be another option to achieve compliance with the 2020 regulation, but the exhaust gas cleaning systems still prove controversial.
“The war on open-loop scrubbers, for instance, seems to be based more on commercial pressures than on scientific evidence.
“Arguments also continue over whether fitting scrubbers is the purview of the owner or the charterer.
“We support any review of wash discharge standards if necessary – but any review should be based on scientific evidence and done through IMO’s appropriate technical bodies.
“At the end the day, choosing to run on compliant fuel or fit scrubbers is a commercial decision – especially given that bunkers are the largest operational expense for a ship.
“Our advice to ship owners is simple – plan ahead now, don't ‘wait and see.”