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Greek shipowners applaud IMO adoption of 2020 action plan

Greek shipowners have applauded the adoption by the IMO MSC 101 of a specific action plan to deal with critical safety issues and liability implications associated with the 0.5% sulphur marine fuels. However, the Union of the Greek Shipowners (UGS) calls on all industry stakeholders to take action to ensure safe fuel is available.

The plan to deal with all the critical parameters affecting fuel oil safety, includes those related with blended fuels, taking into account in all cases the latest edition of industry standards.

The UGS points out the June 5 - 14 meeting in London also "unambiguously acknowledged the responsibility of fuel oil suppliers for the provision of safe fuels". The action plan includes mandatory requirements for suppliers’ confirmation that each actual fuel batch delivered complies with Solas requirements, noting it calls "for action by the governments when the flashpoint requirements are not met".

The UGS urges states around the world to make full use of this resolution as an important tool in order to take appropriate measures imminently to safeguard the safety of ships.

“We are especially pleased the pressing and genuine concerns about the safety and liability issues of the 0.5% sulphur marine fuels, first voiced and in strong terms by the UGS, were not overridden by commercial interests," said UGS president, Theodore Veniamis.

“We are equally pleased Imo fully recognised that the responsibility and liability for the provision of safe compliant fuels lie with the bunker fuel supply chain,” said Veniamis.

However and despite these most important developments, 2020 is just around the corner, the international shipping industry and international trade are entering a new era and yet there is still no guarantee that safe compliant marine fuels will be available worldwide in the actually required quantities. This is officially and widely acknowledged.

“This predicament, whereby IMO has introduced a global regulation that the international fleet is obliged tο comply with but cannot do so properly and safely because other stakeholders, the oil companies, refineries, bunker suppliers, which IMO does not regulate, have not lived up to their contingent responsibilities, is untenable and has created a serious anomaly and precedent which must be urgently addressed at the highest political level," concluded Veniamis.

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