Following their review of the official International Maritime Organization (IMO)-commissioned investigation into the relevant availability of fuel oil, global shipowner association BIMCO awarded the resulting study an F grade.
In fact, they were less than impressed with the findings, saying that the study had failed to fully address its terms of reference in several critical areas. Their point of contention was that they believe that it would not be possible to determine that the global refining industry will have the capacity to produce enough marine fuel by 2020.
They also raised a red flag to these points in particular:
- On fuel oil quality. A significant amount of the fuel oil that the IMO study concludes will be available for marine use is unsafe to store and use onboard ships.
- On how an assessed shortage of sulphur removal capacity in refineries will be resolved so that capacity would be in place by 2020.
- The study fails to model the disruption that an overnight introduction of the global cap (from 31 December 2019) would cause.
However, following the IMO’s decision at the 70th session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) Lars Robert Pedersen, Deputy Secretary General at BIMCO gave the following statement:
“BIMCO respects the decision of the MEPC to move ahead and implement the global sulphur cap by 1 January 2020. We also noted the concerns raised by a number of IMO member states about availability of fuel oil in some regions of the world and the ability of their refineries to respond adequately.”
“BIMCO recognises that the global sulphur cap implementation is about transition and would have been equally challenging either in 2020 or 2025. The transitional issues have been highlighted and we continue to hold the view that this will not be a “walk in the park”. The decision by the MEPC does not change this view.”
“BIMCO is appreciative of the further decision by the MEPC to recognise the need for effective implementation as suggested by a number of IMO member states and industry organisations including BIMCO. The years leading up to 2020 must now be used effectively to alleviate the consequences of the unprecedented disruptive change in supply of marine fuels by 1 January 2020 and ensure a continued level playing field in the industry.”
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