The Hong Kong Shipowners Association (HKSOA) has supported the recent deliberations of the 74th session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC74) of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) on the 2020 global sulphur cap.
The MEPC74 finalised several key matters relating to the sulphur cap, which have been a major issue of concern to the shipping community for many years. Chairman of the HKSOA, Jack Hsu, said: "As the new regulatory regime will take effect on January 1, 2020, we are pleased to see that most of the related matters have been addressed, though there are still some 'loose ends' to be dealt with."
HKSOA said in a statement that it agrees with the upcoming IMO new sulphur rules for shipping, which provide the industry with different choices such as burning compliant low sulphur fuel, using other hybrid solutions, or installing exhaust gas scrubbers that are certified to be in compliance with the IMO low sulphur fuel guidelines.
"It is most important to ensure a level-playing field for all, while the shipping industry is transitioning to cleaner fuel," Mr Hsu said. "The IMO has offered useful, pragmatic guidance for ships electing to install scrubbers. This is a good sign, especially as quite a number of ship operators have already invested heavily in the system."
The MEPC74 adopted the "2019 Guidelines for consistent implementation of the 0.50 per cent sulphur limit under MARPOL Annex VI". These guidelines provide guidance for both shipowners and competent authorities, and address matters such as ship implementation plans and the availability of compliant fuel oil.
The MEPC74 also endorsed a circular titled "Guidance for port State control on contingency measures for addressing non-compliant fuel oil", which recognises that ships may be forced to load non-compliant fuel because of non-availability, while enforcing the new regulations.
Regarding the use of scrubbers, the MEPC74 approved a circular titled "Guidance on indication of ongoing compliance in the case of the failure of a single monitoring instrument, and recommended actions to take if the Exhaust Gas Cleaning System (EGCS) fails to meet the provisions of the 2015 EGCS Guidelines".
The HKSOA will continue to support the efforts of the global shipping community to protect the marine environment, the statement added.
The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Xinde Marine News.
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