June 5th, 2019

Shipping Firms Brace for Implementation of Sulphur Cap In 2020

Shipping companies have begun taking measures for the upcoming implementation of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) 2020 sulphur cap. Under the new cap, ships will have to use fuel oil on board with a sulphur content of no more than 0.50 percent mass by mass (m/m), compared with the current 3.50 percent, which has been in effect since Jan. 1, 2012.

IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim said his organization was determined to ensure that international shipping remained the most environmentally sound mode of transport.

“The reductions in sulphur oxide emissions resulting from the lower global sulphur cap are expected to have a significant beneficial impact on the environment and on human health, particularly that of people living in port cities and coastal communities, beyond the existing emission control areas,” said Lim.

According to the IMO, ships can meet the requirement by using low-sulphur compliant fuel oil. An increasing number of ships are also using gas as fuel, for when ignited it leads to negligible SOx emissions. This has been recognized in IMO’s development 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 used in some short sea services.

“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,” IMO said.