International Chamber of Shipping - Provisional Guidance on compliance with the 2020 'Global Sulphur Cap'

From 1 January 2020, in accordance with MARPOL Annex VI1, the sulphur content of fuel oil used on board commercial ships trading outside sulphur Emission Control Areas (ECAs)2 must not exceed 0.50% m/m. 

The 0.50% sulphur limit is a significant reduction from the current global limit of 3.50% m/m which has been in place since 2012. The worldwide implementation of this important new International Maritime Organization (IMO) requirement - referred to in this Guidance as the 'Global Sulphur Cap' - therefore represents a regulatory game changer.  

Apart from the significant additional cost of compliant fuel, implementation will be far more complex than for the previous introduction of ECAs. This is because of the sheer magnitude of the switchover and the much larger quantities and different types of fuel involved, as well as continuing uncertainties about the availability of compliant fuels in every port worldwide immediately after 1 January 2020.

The only regular exception to the use of 0.50% sulphur fuel will be for the relatively small number of ships which elect to use the ‘equivalent’ compliance mechanisms in accordance with Regulation 4 of MARPOL Annex VI such as LNG fuel or the fitting of an exhaust gas cleaning system (EGCS).

A full copy of this guide is available to download as a PDF below.


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