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Greek shipowners urge IMO to ensure 2020 compliant fuels are fit for purpose

London-based Greek shipowners have urged the IMO to bring together oil companies, marine equipment makers and classification societies to guarantee fuels created to comply with 2020 environmental rules do not damage engines and cause accidents.

Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee (GSCC) chairman Haralambos Fafalios has declared the need for an adequate supply of good quality fuel was more fundamental than other issues such as whether to fit exhaust scrubbers. 

"We strongly urge the IMO to bring together the main stake holders in this area to guarantee the new fuel will be fit for purpose,” said Fafalios when speaking at the GSCC's annual gathering at the Baltic Exchange to celebrate the New Year with the cutting of a traditional Greek Vasilopita cake. IMO secretary-general Kitack Lim was present.

He said that while the main area of 2020 debate has been about scrubbers, “what is most important in this debate is much more fundamental”. 

Fafalios said it is if by 2020 will there be enough low sulphur fuel available and whether “it is compatible with today’s marine propulsion systems, and will changeover take place with the least possible damage to engines, ships and the environment in case of ships being disabled due to incompatible fuels?”

Read more: Relatively smooth experience expected using compliant 0.5% low sulphur fuels: VPS

Fafalios also backed London’s aim to remain a leading maritime centre after the UK leaves the European Union. “With regard to the UK it is difficult to forecast how the Brexit issue will resolve itself, but most of all we greatly support London’s quest to remain the epicentre of the world’s shipping industry,” he said.

He also referred to the US and China trade dispute saying failure to resolve this trade dispute could bring “great disruption to both economies”.

Noting the importance of the human factor in shipping, the GSCC chairman urged the Greek government to invest more in maritime education.

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