International law firm Ince & Co. on Monday (17 February) published an article highlighting implications of the IMO Carriage Ban on 1 March for industry malpractices that have emerged since 2020 and solutions to legally navigate de-bunkering issues; it has been written by Wole Olufunwa and shared with Manifold Times:
The International Maritime Organisation’s (“IMO”) “carriage ban” rule makes it an offence, as of 1 March 2020, for ships to carry fuel oils that contain sulphur content higher than 0.5%, unless the vessel has a scrubber or the fuel is carried as cargo.
We have been advised by bunker traders in Singapore of some risky, and perhaps unethical practices that have arisen since the beginning of 2020:
GUIDANCE FOR PORT STATE CONTROL ON CONTINGENCY MEASURES FOR
ADDRESSING NON-COMPLIANT FUEL OIL
In the case of non-compliant fuel oil, communication between the ship and the port State should occur. The ship and the port State should consider the following as possible contingency measures:
Having considered all of the options in paragraph 1 above, the non-compliant fuel oil may be discharged to the port or retained on board, as acceptable to the port State. Port State consideration may include environmental, safety, operational and logistical implications of allowing or disallowing the carriage of non-compliant fuel oil. The carriage of non-compliant fuel oil is subject to any conditions of the port State.
 The ban does not apply to non-compliant fuel carried on board as cargo Paragraph I of Annex VI of MARPOL provides “The Sulphur content of fuel oil used or carried for use on board a ship shall not exceed 0.50% m/m.”
 This query is underscored by the IMO Guidance for Port State Control on Contingency Measurers for Addressing Non-Compliant Fuel Oil (MEPC.1/Circ.881) recommends as a contingency measure discharging non-compliant fuel oil to another ship to be carried as cargo.
 According to various maritime media sources, it is interesting to note that:
4,000 plus scrubbers were expected to be installed by the end of January 2020, which is approximately 11% of the global fleet by tonnage and 4.5% by vessel count. This unintentionally may provide a significant commercial advantage to scrubber fitted vessels as we are aware of some diligent credit control departments of certain physical suppliers insisting on checking whether the receiving vessel is scrubber fitted – whereby if it is found not to be, the supplier will not agree to supply it with non-compliant fuel.
Source:Ince & Co
Published: 19 February, 2020
Garren Hay will be responsible for sales of the PANOLIN range of Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants for the Singapore sole distributor agent Gealubes Consulting & Trading Pte Ltd.
Universal Alliance, BMS United, Digiland International, Goodwood Associates, Southernpec (Singapore), and Taigu Energy were involved in alleged circular fictitious trades of fuel oil during July 2015.
Bunker orders of ISO 8217:2010 spec LS 380 cSt 0.5% for Nord Gemini, Nord Titan, Ocean Rosemary, and Luzern were placed through global commodities trading and logistics house Trafigura Pte Ltd.
While Covid-19 concerns are important, Captain Rahul Choudhuri was quick to note this does not mean bunker fuel related issues have indeed disappeared from the shipping sector.
‘Therefore, representing the players of the Malaysian bunker industry, we sincerely hope that this matter can be refined and reconsidered immediately so that all parties benefit together,’ says communication.
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