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IMO 2020: Compliant fuel availability and quality remain Intercargo top concerns

With less than three months go until IMO 2020 comes into force availability of supply and quality of compliant low sulphur fuels remains a top concern for Intercargo.

At its semi-annual general meeting in Athens Intercargo highlighted said the global availability of safe compliant fuels remained a question that was “largely unanswered” in particular for the tramp trades.

Senior Members of the Association said “We have been doing everything in our power to be ready, but we still face uncertainty. With vague fuel supply prospects and standards, no real support from the machinery manufacturers and a lot of advice and guidance offered only on paper, shipowners are left to cope with the practical challenges on their own.”

The association was critical of the lack of availability of compliant fuels for testing onboard at an early stage and this raised significant safety concerns for ship operations.

Intercargo highlighted issues around enforcement in particular where the owner had bunkered compliant fuel in good faith only for Port State Control inspectors to find the vessel was in violation of the low sulphur regulation.

“As it would be unacceptable to have even one ship drifting without power on the high seas as a result of the above, it was agreed that Intercargo should continue to raise its concerns at the highest level with the IMO Member States, the fuel supply industry (involving oil refineries, bunker suppliers) and charterers, so that the practical challenges to be faced before and after 1 January 2020 are duly addressed,” the association said.