Intercargo: 2020 still dominates dry bulk shipping’s challenges

In view of the 0.5% global sulphur limit regulation implementation on January 1, 2020, the global availability of safe compliant fuels remains a key question that is largely still unanswered – especially for ships in the dry bulk tramp trades, according to Intercargo.

Intercargo’s Chairman, Dimitrios J. Fafalios, said that the shipowners’ association would continue efforts to highlight critical aspects of the 2020 sulphur limit regulation implementation. Areas of concern include de-bunkering non-compliant fuel in those cases when fuel has been taken in good faith as per BDN, only to learn that it is non-compliant after analysis and the Port State Control response in those instances.

“As it would be unacceptable to have even one ship drifting without power on the high seas as a result of the above, it was agreed that Intercargo should continue to raise its concerns at the highest level with the IMO Member States, the fuel supply industry (involving oil refineries, bunker suppliers) and charterers, so that the practical challenges to be faced before and after 1 January 2020 are duly addressed.”

Intercargo explained that the inability of the fuel supply industry to provide sufficient quantities of representative compliant fuels at an early enough stage for reliable testing on board creates significant safety implications for the operation of ships.

“We have been doing everything in our power to be ready, but we still face uncertainty. With vague fuel supply prospects and standards, no real support from the machinery manufacturers and a lot of advice and guidance offered only on paper, shipowners are left to cope with the practical challenges on their own,” senior members of the association said.

In the short term, measures will need to respect each shipping sector’s characteristics and be equitable, according to Intercargo. In the longer term, adequate, safe, innovative technological solutions will be needed, which are non-existent yet. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions largely depend on the design and the technology of the constructed ships, their engines and machinery, and the fuels used for propulsion.

“Therefore shipbuilders, engine manufacturers, and fuel suppliers must be fully engaged in the successful implementation of IMO’s vision for 2050.”

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