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IMO 2020

IBIA: Concerns about clarity on exemptions discussed at PPR 5

Questions about potential non-availability situations of compliant marine fuel and other scenarios were discussed at PPR 5.




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The below is a press release from the International Bunker Industry Association:

The proposed change to MARPOL Annex VI to make it an offence to carry bunkers above 0.50% sulphur does not prevent the use of abatement technology such as scrubbers. Nor does it apply to bunkers carried as cargo. But there are concerns that the regulatory change does not make this crystal clear. Moreover, there are questions about how potential non-availability situations will be dealt with once it becomes an offence not just to use, but to carry non-compliant bunkers on vessels without valid exemptions.

All of this was discussed in detail at the 5th session of the IMO’s Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR 5), where the carriage ban proposal, while not universally welcomed, received majority support. PPR 5 worked on the relevant amendments to MARPOL Annex VI which will be forwarded to the 72nd session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 72) in April for approval.

There was long debate at PPR 5 about whether the amendment necessitates making it more explicit that high sulphur fuel bunkers can still be carried as cargo, and be carried by ships which have approved abatement technology or exemptions to trial such technology, and whether it will be necessary also to make an explicit reference to the non-availability clause in Regulation 18.2 of MARPOL Annex VI.

Regulation 14 of MARPOL Annex VI already prohibits the use of fuels with higher sulphur content than the applicable limit (e.g. 0.10% in emission control areas and 0.50% outside ECAs from 1 January 2020). The text will be changed to prohibit both use and carriage of non-compliant fuel.

However, Regulation 4 of MARPOL Annex VI allows for “equivalences”, meaning ships can use higher sulphur fuel with abatement technology such as scrubbers, while Regulation 3 allows for ships to be specifically exempted while trialling abatement technology.

The proposal from Norway and the Cook Islands to PPR 5 argued that there was no need to make specific reference to equivalent arrangements approved in accordance with Regulation 4.1 or exemptions issued under Regulation 3.2 in the amended text as they are currently not referred to in Regulation 14, even if they might be applicable.

There was not full agreement on this, as many felt this new carriage prohibition is materially different from the existing prohibition to use bunkers above 0.50% sulphur after 1 January 2020, and that it would be wise to make explicit references under the amended Regulation 14 to Regulation 3, 4 and also to Regulation 18 regarding non-availability situations.

While many supported adding explicit references to Regulation 3, 4 and 18, a majority at PPR 5 did not support it.

The proposal from Norway and Cook Islands also argued that the definition of fuel oil in regulation 2.9 of MARPOL Annex VI excludes MARPOL Annex I cargos (such as bunkers carried as cargo) as it refers specifically to “any fuel delivered to and intended for combustion purposes for propulsion or operation on board a ship”, so it is not necessary to specifically exclude Annex I cargos in the amended regulation.

It was generally felt that it was sufficiently clear that the carriage ban only applies to high sulphur bunkers carried for combustion purposes, and not to cargo.

PPR 5 agreed on the following amended text for Regulation 14, which is expected to take effect from 1 March 2020:

“The sulphur content of any fuel oil used or carried for use on board ships shall not exceed 0.50% m/m.”

While this looks fine, IBIA is co-sponsoring a submission to MEPC 72 asking for a small modification to this text to make sure it doesn’t unintentionally prevent bunker barges from carrying fuel oil exceeding 0.50% sulphur for delivery to ships with scrubbers. It was discovered too late to change the wording prepared by a working group (WG), but the point was made as PPR 5 went through the WG reports on the final day.

IBIA told the plenary that the reason for the request to amend the wording is that once a bunker barge has been loaded with fuel oil, there is no doubt this is carried “for use onboard ships“ as per the new text proposed for Regulation 14.

Hence a bunker barge, which is itself a ship, could be carrying a fuel oil exceeding 0.50% sulphur which is intended “for use onboard ships” – even if the intention is to deliver it for use on another ship – and not intended for propulsion on the bunker barge itself.

It is therefore necessary to specify that the carriage ban applies to any fuel oil carried for use on board the ship (not ships).

Likewise, an amendment will be needed to the proposed new text in the supplement to the International Air Pollution Prevention Certificate (IAPP Certificate) prepared by PPR 5 as follows (proposed modification shown in bold):

“For a ship without an equivalent arrangement approved in accordance with regulation 4.1 as listed in 2.6, the sulphur content of any fuel oil carried for use on board the ship shall not exceed 0.50% m/m as documented by bunker delivery notes.”

Published: 26 February, 2018

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Port & Regulatory

X-Press Feeders inks MoU with six European ports for green shipping corridors

Firm signed a MoU with Ports of Antwerp Bruges, Tallinn, Helsinki, HaminaKotka, Freeport of Riga and Klaipeda Port to develop infrastructure for provision and bunkering of alternative bunker fuels, among others.





X-Press Feeders inks MoU with six European ports for green shipping corridors

Singapore-based global maritime container shipping company X-Press Feeders on Friday (5 April) signed of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with six European ports: Port of Antwerp Bruges (Belgium), Port of Tallinn (Estonia), Port of Helsinki (Finland), Port of HaminaKotka (Finland), Freeport of Riga (Latvia) and Klaipeda Port (Lithuania).

This landmark agreement signifies a joint commitment to accelerate the establishment of green shipping corridors and the broader decarbonisation of the marine sector in Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea. Through this MOU, X-Press Feeders and the participating ports will pool resources and expertise to develop and implement sustainable practices for maritime operations.

Under the MOU:

  • Parties will work together to further develop infrastructure for the provision and bunkering of alternative fuels such as green methanol,
  • Encourage the development of supply chains for fuel that are zero or near to zero in terms of greenhouse gas emissions
  • Provide further training programs for port workers and seafarers with regards to the handling of alternative fuels
  • Leverage digital platforms to enhance port call optimisation
  • Parties will have regular meetings to update and discuss progress on actions for further developing green shipping corridors.

The MOU underscores the collective dedication to broader decarbonisation efforts within the maritime sector.

The collaboration between the parties will begin with the establishment of these two shipping routes:

  • Green Baltic X-PRESS (GBX): Rotterdam > Antwerp Bruges > Klaipeda > Riga > Rotterdam
  • Green Finland X-PRESS (GFX): Rotterdam > Antwerp Bruges > Helsinki > Tallinn > HaminaKotka > Rotterdam

These services are scheduled to commence in Q3 2024, marking a significant step towards more environmentally sustainable shipping services in Europe. This development is significant as these will be the very first scheduled feeder routes in Europe powered by green methanol, an alternative fuel that produces at least 60% less greenhouse gas emissions than conventional marine fuel.

X-Press Feeders’ green methanol is sourced from fuel supplier OCI Global. The green methanol is made from green hydrogen and the decomposition of organic matter, such as waste and residues. 

OCI’s green methanol is independently certified by the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) Association headquartered in Germany. The ISCC system promotes and verifies the sustainable production of biomass, circular and bio-based materials and renewables.

X-Press Feeders’ Chief Operating Officer, Francis Goh, said: “By working together – X-Press Feeders and the six partner ports – aim to efficiently implement green shipping corridors and lead the maritime industry in sustainability. We chose the Nordic and Baltic states as the first markets to deploy our green methanol powered vessels because we found the ports and our customers in these markets to be very receptive.”

“This MoU represents a significant milestone in our commitment to a sustainable future for the maritime industry. By collaborating with these leading European ports, we can collectively drive the adoption of green technologies that accelerate the decarbonisation of our industry.”

Vladas Motiejūnas, Harbor Master of the Port of Klaipėda, said: “In recent years, Klaipeda Port has taken significant strides towards sustainability. This year marks the commencement of construction for green hydrogen production and refuelling stations at the port, along with the implementation of shore-side power supply (OPS) stations for roll-on/roll-off ferries.”

“Furthermore, Klaipeda Port proudly enters 2024 with the Port Environmental Review System (PERS) certification, underscoring our commitment to environmental stewardship. Already, methanol bunkering operations are available at Klaipeda Port.”

“The integration of Klaipeda Port into environmentally sustainable shipping services by X-Press Feeders is a testament to our unwavering dedication to fostering a greener port.”


Photo credit: X-Press Feeders
Published: 8 April 2024

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LNG Bunkering

Titan completes successful LNG bunkering op of E&S Tankers ship in Antwerp

Bunker barge “FlexFueler001” delivered 110 mt of LNG bunker fuel to chemical tanker “Liselotte Esberger”, marking a milestone since it was the first time Titan delivered to a vessel of E&S Tankers.





Titan completes successful LNG bunkering op of E&S Tankers ship in Antwerp

LNG bunker fuel supplier Titan on Monday (19 February) said it executed a successful LNG bunkering operation for E&S Tankers, a joint venture of Essberger Tankers and Stolt Tankers as an operator of chemical tankers within Europe. 

The refuelling operation took place at the port of Antwerp on 15 January. 

“Our vessel, FlexFueler001, flawlessly delivered 110 mt of LNG to the Liselotte Esberger, marking a milestone since it is the first time we deliver to a vessel of E&S Tankers,” it said in a social media post. 

“This operation underscores our dedication to sustainable shipping practices and showcases our commitment to environmentally friendly solutions. We're proud to collaborate with E&S Tankers and look forward to furthering our shared mission.”

Titan completes successful LNG bunkering op of E&S Tankers ship in Antwerp

According to E&S Tankers website, the 7,135 dwt Liselotte Essberger arrived in Hamburg from a shipyard in China on 5 December 2023 and was christened the following day.  

The vessel is first of a total of four newbuildings ordered by the firm that are equipped with LNG dual-fuel engines.

Related: E&S Tankers launches second LNG dual fuel chemical tanker “John T. Essberger”


Photo credit: Titan and E&S Tankers
Published: 20 February, 2024

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Shipping Corridor

Report: Korea-US-Japan green shipping corridors can lead to significant environmental impact

Creating green shipping corridors between South Korea, the United States and Japan’s top two busiest routes can reduce up to 41.3 million tCO2 each year, says Korean NPO Solutions for Our Climate.





Report: Korea-US-Japan green shipping corridors can lead to significant environmental impact

Korea-based non-profit organisation Solutions for Our Climate (SFOC) on Tuesday (13 February) said creating green shipping corridors between South Korea, the United States and Japan's top two busiest routes – Busan-Tokyo and Yokohama; Busan-Los Angeles and Long Beach– can reduce up to 41.3 million tCO2 each year. 

This is equivalent to annual emissions from over 9 million passenger vehicles in the United States.

“We evaluated the anticipated impact of several proposed KoreaUnited States-Japan green shipping corridors involving ports of Busan (KRPUS), Incheon (KRINC), and Gwangyang (KRKAN) —South Korea’s three major container ports,” SFOC said in the report. 

Each of the three South Korean ports will have the most significant environmental impact if connected to ports of Tokyo (JPTYO)/Yokohama (JPYOK) in Japan and ports of Los Angeles (USLAX)/Long Beach (USLGB) in the United States. 

“If container ships that travel KRPUS – JPTYO/ JPYOK and KRPUS – USLAX/USLGB are converted to zero emission ships, we can expect significant reduction in global carbon dioxide emissions, approximately 20.7 million tCO2 and 20.6 million tCO2, respectively,” it added. 

Accordingly, reducing GHG emissions in the global maritime shipping will require coordinated multilateral commitments and actions.

The green shipping corridor initiative is a global effort to align the shipping industry with the 1.5°C trajectory. It aims to:

  • Create maritime routes in which mainly zero-emission ships travel
  • Run ports with 100 percent renewable energy
  • Enforce mandatory use of on-shore power for docked vessels.

“With increasing global shipping emissions, green corridors are key to decarbonising the sector,” SFOC said. 

“Our latest report on green corridors comes on the heels of South Korea and the United States' announcement to work together to implement cross-country green shipping corridors between several of their key ports.”


Photo credit: Solutions for Our Climate
Published: 14 February, 2024

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