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Indonesia needs time to exhaust existing supplies before switch to low-sulphur fuel – transport ministry

Indonesia needs more time to comply with global rules requiring low-sulphur marine fuels, its transport ministry said on Monday, citing abundant supply of higher-sulphur fuel.

Under International Maritime Organization (IMO) rules that come into effect in 2020, ships will have to use fuel with a maximum 0.5% sulphur content, down from 3.5% now, unless they are equipped with so-called scrubbers to remove the sulphur from the vessel’s emissions.

But because of the high cost of complying with the new rules, Indonesian authorities will allow Indonesian-flagged vessels to continue burning marine fuels with a maximum 3.5% sulphur content in its territorial waters past 2020 without having to use scrubbers, an Indonesian Ministry of Transportation official said last week.

On Monday the ministry issued a statement saying the government will comply with the rule but Indonesia “requires time to adjust” and the “national interest should be put forward before the implementation” in January 2020.

Sudiono, the ministry’s director of shipping and maritime affairs, said production of marine fuel with a maximum 3.5% sulphur content by state oil company PT Pertamina is still high, at 1.9 million kilolitres a year, and it will continue to be used for power generation and shipping.

“According to an agreement at the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs, all Indonesian-flagged ships sailing only in Indonesian territory can still use fuel with 3.5% sulphur content until the supply run out,” Sudiono said in the statement.

Meanwhile, the government has requested Pertamina to increase supply of low-sulphur marine fuel in the country’s main ports.

Indonesian-flagged ships sailing international routes will need to comply with the IMO fuel rules from January 2020, the statement said.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Bernadette Christina Munthe; Writing by Fransiska Nangoy; Editing by David Goodman)

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