European member states have been given new guidance on how to look for sulphur cheats after new regulations kick in on January 1 2020.
At that date the new IMO requirements for ships to use fuels with less than 0.5% sulphur content are in force, the only exception is if a vessel uses an approved exhaust gas cleaning scrubber to remove the sulphur oxides from a ship’s exhaust. Additionally similar rules come into force in the European sulphur in fuel directive.
The European Maritime Safety Agency has published the new guidance documents to help EU member states harmonise their inspections. The note points out that while the rules that ship inspections fall under are from the IMO and the EU directorate on sulphur in fuels, there are national differences and that enforcement is ultimately up to each individual state. Inspections are on all vessels regardless of flag.
EMSA points to the ships documentation and onboard fuel samples and says that as a start inspectors should look to ensure the vessels documentation tallies, such as the relevant part of the oil record book, the records of navigational activities, including checking ECDIS and route plans, records of internal transfer of oil, engine logbooks, tank soundings and fuel oil change over records.
Inspections of the bunker delivery notes, which are to be kept onboard for 3 years, are highlighted, as is checking that bunker samples are kept on board for one year, and are sealed and signed as required.
As well as offering guidance on how inspectors should prepare for a boarding of a vessel, EMSA also offers some help in selecting a ship to inspect by using the THETIS-EU database.