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Number of FONARs don’t represent issues shipowners have in sourcing VLSFO

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Shipowner organisations say the low number of Fuel Oil Non-Availability Reports (FONAR) issued since IMO 2020 came into force does not truly represent the difficulties owners have had in sourcing compliant fuels.

A statement from the Roundtable of shipowner associations – Intertanko, Intercargo, Bimco, and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) – noted that owners had been working “tirelessly” to source very low sulphur fuel oil (VLFSO) with “many ships having to change bunkering ports”.

“Shipowners have been working tireless to comply with the challenging regulation, and we thank them for their commendable efforts. We believe this major change was both timely and needed, however, this does not mean it is without inherent risks,” the Roundtable said.

They noted that while it had been reported that flag states had issued very few FONARs, “this did not represent a true measure of the lack of worldwide VLSFO availability since it did not reflect situations where owners had to wait or divert to find fuel.

“It also failed to reflect the extreme efforts shipowners were making to plan and find compliant fuels at their intended trading ports,” they said.

The four associations have also launched a survey to get a greater understanding of fuel quality and the potential safety issues that are faced.

 

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