Author

KPI Bridge Oil PR Team

Published

08/09/2016

KPI Bridge Oil: Bunker sector not ready for IMO regulations by 2020

BY TENNA SCHOER, ShippingWatch. Published 07.09.16 at 08:50 SINGAPORE

Suppliers: If the IMO targets 2020 as the deadline for its new sulfur limits for marine fuel, the decision will create a series of implementation issues, says KPI Bridge Oil’s managing director of Singapore, who is unconvinced about whether or not the sector will be ready by 2025.

No one disputes the environmental argument. The industry as well as legislators agree that something needs to be done about marine fuel, to lessen the environmental impact but the decision of when this environmental consideration should become law is subject to fierce debate these days. From the point of view of a man who has spent 35 years in the bunker sector, 2020 is probably too soon – and 2025 is just a maybe:

“For the sake of the environment, a global regulation is the right thing to do, that’s essential. However if you ask my children they’ll say that the regulation should come into force tomorrow but it’s not that simple, it will take time to implement,” says Mark Emmett, managing director of KPI Bridge Oil in Singapore.”If it was Singapore implementing it, it would have happened like this,” he says, snapping his fingers: “But there are major geographic differences worldwide, in a country such as Indonesia, for instance, with 4,000 islands, how would they be able to monitor the regulation?”

Implementation, monitoring and availability as ShippingWatch has reported on numerous occasions, the EU will soon implement sulfur regulations to limit SOx emissions from shipping to 0.5 percent, and the IMO is expected to follow suit with global regulations. But the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee, MEPC, will not decide before a meeting in late October whether this regulation will come into force in 2020 or 2025.

Mark Emmett points to several uncertainties in this legislation which have yet to be dealt with:”I see several completely legitimate questions in this case: How to implement the regulation and, not least, how to enforce it? Will there even be sufficient low-sulfur fuel available?,” asks Emmett who draws on several practical real world examples:”I’ve had several conversations with inspection authorities from various nations, and it is safe to say that they admit to be currently lacking the resources for enforcement. So who would police this and check if the regulations are complied with?”

“And what happens if a vessel calls at a port where low-sulfur fuel is not available? Can a certificate be issued stating that a vessel arrives from a port with no access to low-sulfur fuel and what will the next port of call say when presented with this document? Would that be acceptable or will the carrier be fined a specified amount of money and told next time they simply have to comply with the regulations which may involve an expensive deviation to ensure they do?” “Or take the Indian Ocean for example, where the fuel is not readily available, and where the economic imperative could outweigh the environmental considerations,” says Emmett, with a British accent so thick as to leave no doubt about his country of origin.

2025 is better the first official study commissioned by the IMO concludes that there will be sufficient access to low-sulfur fuel by 2020.Another study, performed by Bimco and the oil industry, notes that there will not be enough low-sulfur fuel available until 2025.In any case, the matter needs to be clarified soon – as chief consultant at the Danish Shipowners’ Association, Jesper Forup Stubkjær, told ShippingWatch recently:”Our members need time to prepare before the new limit comes into force. 2020 is just around the corner, so it’s high time for this decision to be made.”KPI Bridge Oil has launched the first steps to prepare for the matter.”We now need to map out where the fuel is even available. Each of our offices must analyze their regions to discern availability, so that we can share this information with our clients,” says Emmett, concluding:”So if we have to choose between 2020 and 2025, then possibly 2025 would be the best alternative.”