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Industry applauds IMO consensus on sulphur emissions

Industry applauds IMO consensus on sulphur emissions

London: Representatives of leading international shipping associations have reacted enthusiastically to the new sulphur reductions agreed at last week's IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee as part of the revision of MARPOL Annex VI. Once formally adopted by IMO, these will require progressive reductions of the sulphur content down to 0.5% by 2020, thereby requiring a wholesale switch to distillates, or Marine Diesel Oil (MDO), subject to a feasibility study completed by 2018.

"We are absolutely delighted, said Dr Peter Swift, md of Intertanko, which has all along pushed a switch to MDO. "There are clear winners from this outcome - the environment, the many people affected by air pollution from ships, and thousands of seafarers worldwide."

"It's very good to get a firm solution with goal-based standards and definite dates," said Peter Hinchliffe, marine director of the International Chamber of Shipping. A gradual switch to MDO is the only practicable way to proceed, he added, since "the fundamental problem is that the oil industry is under no mandate to deliver a solution, so we have to build up the market for low sulphur fuels on a global basis." The cost of diesel will inevitably go up, he added, "but this is the price you have to pay for a more environmentally friendly transport system."

"We believe everybody should be happy," added Rob Lomas, manager of Intercargo. "IMO has come up trumps." But he cautioned: "There's still work to do on greenhouses gases (such as carbon), however."  [08/04/08]