UK P&I: Concerns Remain as Low Sulfur Fuel Rules Place Increasing Demands on Shipowners

Stuart Edmonston, Loss Prevention Director at UK P&I Club (UK P&I) says the industry still has concerns over the use of low-sulfur fuels, and the need to comply with mandates regarding their use in ships is placing an increasing demand on shipowners.


“The move towards using cleaner fuels supports a global drive to reducing carbon emissions, with many countries forming new or reforming old regulations,” says Edmonston.

“Industry concerns include technical issues such as low viscosity, lack of lubricity, low density, etc., of the new fuels. Other issues are the higher costs of these fuels, as well as difficulties in obtaining them in some parts of the world.

“To avoid such problems, shipowners should consult their engine and boiler manufacturers for advice on operating with low-sulphur fuels and the need for equipment and system modifications.”

Edmonston also warned that new environmental regulations governing marine fuel differ around the globe, and the penalties for non-compliance also vary.

Shipowners need to be aware of the differing rules and costs across jurisdictions as they face significant fines for non-compliance

Stuart Edmonston, Loss Prevention Director at UK P&I

“Shipowners need to be aware of the differing rules and costs across jurisdictions as they face significant fines for non-compliance,” said Edmonston, who highlighted Australia andHong Kong as two areas that have recently announced new fuel rules

In Australia from October 1, 2015 a maximum 0.1 percent marine fuel will be mandatory for all cruise ships berthing in Sydney Harbour and in all New South Wales (NSW) ports after July 1, 2016.

“Owners can be fined up to $44,000 and the Master up to $22,000,” notes Edmonston.

On July 1, 2015 at-berth fuel switching rules requiring a maximum 0.5 percent sulfur fuel came into effect in Hong Kong.

“The requirements impose criminal sanctions against the owners (including any bareboat charterers and ship manager) and the Master. A contravention of the provisions relating to fuel use attracts a maximum fine of HK$200,000 and a maximum imprisonment of six months,” says Edmonston.

In May Transport Canada issued a safety advisory for vessels switching fuels for Emissions Control Area (ECA) compliance, warning marine operators to ensure that switching from high to low sulfur bunkers is done carefully in order to avoid propulsion failure, engine black outs, “and/or damage to the machinery.”

This article was initially posted in Ship and Bunker and is reproduced here with their permission. 

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