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IMO 2020

IMO: The 2020 global sulphur limit

IMO has published a Q&A notice to inform the shipping industry about upcoming IMO 2020 regulations.

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The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has published a Q&A notice to inform the shipping industry about the upcoming IMO 2020 regulations which introduces a global 0.5% sulphur limit for marine fuels:

IMO has set a global limit for sulphur in fuel oil used on board ships of 0.50% m/m (mass by mass) from 1 January 2020. This will significantly reduce the amount of sulphur oxide emanating from ships and should have major health and environmental benefits for the world, particularly for populations living close to ports and coasts.

When did IMO adopt regulations to control air pollution form ships?
IMO has been working to reduce harmful impacts of shipping on the environment since the 1960s. Annex VI to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL Convention) was adopted in 1997, to address air pollution from shipping.

The regulations for the Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships (Annex VI) seek to control airborne emissions from ships (sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx), ozone depleting substances (ODS), volatile organic compounds (VOC) and shipboard incineration) and their contribution to local and global air pollution, human health issues and environmental problems.

Annex VI entered into force on 19 May 2005 and a revised Annex VI with significantly strengthened requirements was adopted in October 2008 which entered into force on 1 July 2010.

The regulations to reduce sulphur oxide emissions introduced a global limit for sulphur content of ships’ fuel oil, with tighter restrictions in designated emission control areas.

What are the limits on sulphur in the regulations?
The current global limit for sulphur content of ships’ fuel oil is 3.50% m/m (mass by mass).

The new global limit will be 0.50% m/m will apply on and after 1 January 2020.

When was the date of 1 January 2020 decided?
The date of 1 January 2020 was set in the regulations adopted in 2008. However, a provision was adopted, requiring IMO to review the availability of low sulphur fuel oil for use by ships, to help Member States determine whether the new lower global cap on sulphur emissions from international shipping shall come into effect on 1 January 2020 or be deferred until 1 January 2025.

IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 70), in October 2016, decided that the 0.50% limit should apply from 1 January 2020.

What about in Emission Control areas (ECAS)?
Since 1 January 2015 the sulphur limit for fuel oil used by ships in SOx Emission Control Areas (ECAS) established by IMO has been 0.10% m/m.

The ECAs established under MARPOL Annex VI for SOx are: the Baltic Sea area; the North Sea area; the North American area (covering designated coastal areas off the United States and Canada); and the United States Caribbean Sea area (around Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands).

What will the new global limit mean for ships?
Under the new global cap, ships will have to use fuel oil on board with a sulphur content of no more than 0.50% m/m, against the current limit of 3.50%, which has been in effect since 1 January 2012.

The interpretation of “fuel oil used on board” includes use in main and auxiliary engines and boilers.

Exemptions are provided for situations involving the safety of the ship or saving life at sea, or if a ship or its equipment is damaged.

Another exemption allows for a ship to conduct trials for the development of ship emission reduction and control technologies and engine design programmes. This would require a special permit from the Administration(s) (flag State(s)).

How can ships meet lower sulphur emission standards?
Ships can meet the requirement by using low-sulphur compliant fuel oil.

An increasing number of ships are also using gas as a fuel as when ignited it leads to negligible sulphur oxide emissions. This has been recognised in the development by IMO of the International Code for Ships using Gases and other Low Flashpoint Fuels (the IGF Code), which was adopted in 2015. Another alternative fuel is methanol which is being used on some short sea services.

Ships may also meet the SOx emission requirements by using approved equivalent methods, such as exhaust gas cleaning systems or “scrubbers”, which “clean” the emissions before they are released into the atmosphere. In this case, the equivalent arrangement must be approved by the ship’s Administration (the flag State).

What controls will there be once the new global cap takes effect?
Ships taking on fuel oil for use on board must obtain a bunker delivery note, which states the sulphur content of the fuel oil supplied. Samples may be taken for verification.

Ships must be issued with an International Air Pollution Prevention (IAPP) Certificate by their Flag State. This certificate includes a section stating that the ship uses fuel oil with a sulphur content that does not exceed the applicable limit value as documented by bunker delivery notes or uses an approved equivalent arrangement.

Port and coastal States can use port State control to verify that the ship is compliant. They could also use surveillance, for example air surveillance to assess smoke plumes, and other techniques to identify potential violations.

What sanctions will there be for not complying?
Sanctions are established by individual Parties to MARPOL, as flag and port States. There is no established fine or sanction set by IMO – it is down to the individual State Party.

What additional measures may be developed to promote consistent implementation?
Implementation is the remit and responsibility of the Administrations (flag States and port/coastal States). Ensuring the consistent and effective implementation of the 2020 0.50% m/m sulphur limit is a high priority.

IMO’S Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR) has prepared a list of items which could be considered in order to achieve the environmental benefits sought through regulation 14, which regulates emissions of sulphur oxides (SOx) in MARPOL Annex VI. The scope of the work, proposed to be completed during PPR sessions in 2018 and 2019 is outlined here.

A new output on consistent implementation of regulation 14.1.3 of MARPOL Annex VI will be put forward for approval by MEPC 71, meeting 3-7 July 2017.

What is the current average sulphur content of fuel oil used on ships?
IMO monitors the sulphur content of fuel oil used on ships globally. Samples are taken of residual fuel oil – the “heavy” fuel oil commonly used on ships – as well as distillate fuel oil (“light”, low sulphur fuel oil, which is more commonly used in emission control areas which have stricter limits on sulphur emissions).

The latest figures showed that the yearly average sulphur content of the residual fuel oils tested in 2015 was 2.45%. The worldwide average sulphur content for distillate fuel in 2015 was 0.11%.

Have there been any studies into the feasibility of using LNG as fuel oil?
Yes, IMO has commissioned and published studies on the feasibility and use of LNG as a fuel for shipping (2016). The publication includes a feasibility study on the use of LNG as a fuel for international shipping in the North America ECA, a pilot study on the use of LNG as a fuel for a high speed passenger ship from the Port of Spain ferry terminal in Trinidad and Tobago and a feasibility study on LNG-fuelled short sea and coastal shipping in the wider Caribbean region.

Where can I find out more about the sulphur regulations?
Read more here.

Notes:
Text of Regulation 14 in relation to the global cap and the review

*MARPOL Annex VI

“Regulation 14
Sulphur Oxides (SOx) and Particulate Matter

1 The sulphur content of any fuel oil used on board ships shall not exceed the following limits: .

  1. 4.50% m/m prior to January 2012; .
  2. 3.50% m/m on and after 1 January 012; and .
  3. 0.50% m/m on and after 1 January 2020.”

Source: IMO
Photo credit: International Maritime Organization
Published: 27 August, 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.

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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.

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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.

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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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