Port of Singapore updates its guidance on IMO 2020
Singapore, the world’s largest bunkering port, unveiled on Thursday further measures to help the industry prepare for the International Maritime Organization’s impending global sulfur limit rule for marine fuels.
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore said it had, in collaboration with the Singapore Shipping Association, published the second edition of two technical guides on the IMO 2020 rule. The guides contain details on Singapore’s implementation plan for the rule as well as the outcome of the 74th session of IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee held in May.
MPA will inspect Singapore-registered ships and foreign-registered ships calling at Singapore in accordance with the Flag State and Port State Control regimes, respectively, Quah Ley Hoon, CEO of Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, said at an industry event in Singapore.
Ships will be selected for inspection of the vessel based on a risk matrix, which takes into account the compliance option of the vessel and whether a Fuel Oil Non-Availability Report, or FONAR, has been submitted, she said.
“Our inspectors will also be equipped with portable sulfur kits for on site testing of in-use fuel,” she said, adding that “if necessary, we may send the fuel oil sample to the laboratory for detailed fuel oil analysis.”
These measures come after the city-port last year announced a raft of moves and released two technical guidance booklets in November 2018 to aid preparations for the rule, which is set to usher in significant costs worldwide as well as operational challenges.
The IMO will cap global sulfur content in marine fuels at 0.5% starting January 1, 2020, from 3.5% currently. This applies outside the designated emission control areas where the limit is already 0.1%.
Shipowners will have to switch to more expensive cleaner fuels, consider alternative fuels such as LNG, or use high sulfur fuel oil with scrubbers to comply with this rule.
A number of top shipowners in Singapore, including BW Group, Maersk Tankers, Pacific Carriers, AET, and Pacific International Lines, have already indicated that they are ready for the transition to IMO 2020, Hoon said.
A couple of oil majors have also successfully completed on-board fuel oil trials of low sulfur fuel oil in Singapore, she added.
“Ship operators have also shared with us that their vessels already have existing procedures in place to minimize the commingling of fuel oils using bunker segregation,” she said.
The MPA also expects to develop a separate guidebook for the bunkering industry detailing best practices for fuel oil suppliers, she said. This booklet is expected to be ready by the third quarter of this year, she added.
This comes after the MPA in April published a list of licensed bunker suppliers that were ready to provide IMO 2020 compliant fuels in Singapore.
Meanwhile, a system of fines and penalties for errant players is also in place at the Port of Singapore.
“Like the violation of other MARPOL Annex VI requirements, the owner and the master of the ship may be fined up to S$10,000 ($7,392) or imprisoned for a term not exceeding two years, or both, for non-compliance of these regulations,” an MPA spokeswoman told S&P Global Platts in April.
Goh Chung Hun, director (shipping), and deputy director of marine shipping division for MPA, said at the event on Thursday that the punitive measures were not new as they “were not just written two months ago for IMO 2020 sulfur non-compliance.”
They are part of Singapore legislation passed in 2005 for MARPOL Annex VI, he said.
Violation of such statutory regulations can be a deficiency or can even lead to a ship being detained, he said.
“I’m not saying that it won’t lead to a fine … but in most cases, you can end up with a port state control deficiency or detention,” he added.