From 1 January 2020, the new 0.5% m/m global limit for sulphur in fuel used on board ships comes into effect. Parties in the bunker chain i.e. those involved in the production, distribution, storage, handling and use of bunker fuels have expressed concerns over the practical implementation of this new global limit, a substantial drop from the current 3.5% m/m. A Joint Industry Project (JIP) was therefore established to raise awareness of the issues which might arise.
A coalition of industry bodies has now produced a comprehensive Joint Industry Guidance on the supply and use of low sulphur fuel. Members may access this Guidance here. The Guidance explains on page 15:
“Fuel specifications, and their correct interpretation and application
ISO 8217:2017 specifies the requirements for fuels for use in marine diesel engines and boilers prior to conventional on-board treatment, and covers all sulphur content levels, including 0.10%, 0.50% and >0.50%-sulphur fuels. This standard covers the technical boundaries defined by ship machinery installations and is used in most bunker purchase contracts. It is regularly reviewed (typically every three to five years) and updated to reflect the most recent market developments in fuels and machinery design. Previous editions are still being selected as the basis for contractual specifications for purchase agreements between fuel suppliers and the shipowner/operator; however, it is recommended that fuel buyers purchase and use the latest edition of the ISO 8217 Standard (ISO 8217:2017).
The latest edition of ISO 8217 was published in March 2017, following which the IMO requested the ISO to consider 0.50%-sulphur fuels in the framework of the Standard. Taking into account that a revision of ISO 8217:2017 was not possible in the available time frame, the development of a Publicly Available Specification (PAS), ISO PAS 23263, Considerations for fuel suppliers and users regarding marine fuel quality in view of the implementation of maximum 0.50% S in 2020, was initiated. The PAS will address the anticipated fuel characteristics and properties of the marine fuels that will be placed on the market to meet the 2020 sulphur requirements and will be used in conjunction with ISO 8217:2017.”
Members are advised that ISO PAS 23263:2019 has now been published and the same may be purchased at the following link: https://www.iso.org/standard/75113.html.”