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IMO reports relatively smooth transition to 0.5% sulphur cap

PHOTO: IMO IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim.jpg
That such a major rule change is being implemented sucessfully is testament to the diligence and dedication of IMO, member states, the shipping and fuel supply industries, Kitack Lim said
Since Jan. 1, the global limit on the sulphur content of ships' fuel oil has been reduced to 0.5% from 3.5% under the so-called IMO 2020 regulation.

This is significantly reducing the amount of sulphur oxide emissions from ships and will have major health and environmental benefits, particularly for people living close to ports and coasts.

According to the International Maritime Organization, it has been a relatively smooth transition to the 0.5% cap.

VLSFO and MGO prices stabilizing

Prices for compliant fuels — very low sulphur fuel oil and marine gas oil rose quickly initially but now appear to be stabilizing. As of Jan. 20, 10 cases of compliant fuel being unavailable had been reported in IMO's Global Integrated Shipping Information System, and the dedicated email address established by the IMO Secretariat ( has not received any specific correspondence reporting issues with implementation.

‘It is testimony to the diligence and dedication of IMO, its member states, the shipping industry, the fuel supply industry and other relevant industries that such a major rule change is being implemented successfully without significant disruption to maritime transport and those that depend on it,’ IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said.

Next target: March 1

He added: ‘The next important target is fast approaching, when carrying noncompliant fuel oil on board ships becomes prohibited on 1 March 2020. I urge all shipowners, operators and masters to comply with the carriage ban, where applicable, when it comes into effect. IMO will remain vigilant and ready to respond and provide any support.’

The secretary-general thanked IMO member governments, the shipping industry and all stakeholders, including shippers and the fuel oil supply industry, for their efforts so far and asked for further cooperation to ensure IMO 2020 is implemented properly.

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