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CLIA in coalition seeking carriage ban on noncompliant fuel

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Environmental organizations and the global shipping industry, including Cruise Lines International Association, are calling for an explicit prohibition on the carriage of noncompliant marine fuels when the global 0.5% sulphur cap takes effect in 2020.

The International Maritime Organization has agreed that from January 2020 the maximum permitted sulphur content of marine fuel outside Emission Control Areas will reduce from 3.5% to 0.5%. Unless a ship is using an approved equivalent compliance method, such as scrubbers, there should be no reason for it to be carrying noncompliant fuels for combustion on board.

The 2020 sulphur cap will provide substantial environmental and human health benefits as a result of reducing the sulphur content of marine fuels. At the same time, the cap will significantly increase ships’ operating costs and present major challenges to governments that must ensure consistent enforcement across the globe.

To secure the intended environmental and health benefits, the organizations say it is of utmost importance that enforcement of this standard is efficient and robust globally. Any failure by governments to ensure consistent implementation and enforcement, they argue, could also lead to serious market distortion and unfair competition.

In a joint statement ahead of a critical IMO meeting in February where proposals for a carriage ban will be discussed by governments, environmental and shipping organizations assert such a ban will help ensure robust, simplified and consistent enforcement of the global sulphur cap.

A number of international associations representing the global shipping industry, as well as the Cook Islands and Norway, have already submitted proposals to IMO to ban the carriage of noncomplaint fuels. These call for an amendment to Annex VI of the MARPOL Convention, stipulating that ships should not carry fuel for propulsion with a sulphur content above 0.5% unless they are using an approved alternative compliance method.

Other organizations besides CLIA that are urging a prohibition on the carriage of noncompliant fuels include BIMCO, Clean Shipping Coalition, Friends of the Earth US, International Chamber of Shipping, International Parcel Tankers’ Association, Intertanko, Pacific Environment, World Shipping Council and WWF Global Arctic Programme.

The proposal submitted to IMO by BIMCO, International Chamber of Shipping, World Shipping Council, Intertanko, CLIA and International Parcel Tankers' Association is here.

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