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Argus Media: More IMO violations emerge in China’s coastal waters

16 Jan 2020

Global energy and commodity price reporting agency Argus Media on Wednesday (15 January) issued a report highlighting some of the first violations to have emerged in Chinese waters since the implementation of IMO’s 0.5% sulphur cap on 1 January:

Chinese maritime authorities have caught at least three vessels using marine fuel that exceeds International Maritime Organization (IMO) standards, in some of the first violations to have emerged since the IMO’s 0.5pc sulphur cap took effect on 1 January.

A South Korean container ship was found to be using fuel oil with sulphur content exceeding the 0.5% compliant level on 8 January. The vessel was travelling from Incheon port in northwest South Korea to Weihai port in north China’s Shandong province.

Similar incidents have taken place in Shandong province’s Qingdao and at Xiamen in south China’s Fujian province. In those cases, vessels were discovered by local maritime authorities to be using or carrying fuel oil that failed to meet the IMO standard.

Marine insurer the Standard Club said the vessel in Qingdao was found to be burning fuel oil with sulphur content of 0.68%. The second vessel was berthed in Xiamen when it was cited by China’s maritime safety administration (MSA) with burning non-compliant fuel, although Standard Club said this was likely the result of high-sulphur residue remaining in the engine system.

The IMO made it mandatory for all vessels to use marine fuel with maximum 0.5% sulphur from 1 January, compared with 3.5% previously.

China’s cabinet the State Council announced in October that it would ban international vessels using marine fuel with more than 0.5% sulphur content in the country’s territorial waters from 1 January. The cap was set at 0.1% sulphur in some inland waters. China has also banned open loop scrubbers in the country’s emission-control areas.

It is unclear whether the MSA will fine the vessels for the violations, Standard Club said. Chinese regulations allow for fines ranging from 10,000-100,000 yuan (SGD 1,500-15,000) for IMO 2020 violations.

Shipping company Maersk yesterday called for strong enforcement and market-appropriate fines to deter non-compliance with the sulphur cap. Many major shippers have pledged to abide by the IMO 2020 regulation, but its enforcement mechanism remains unclear.


Source: Argus Media
Published: 16 January, 2020

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