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Sunday, January 31, 2021  (Comments: 1)

One year on since the introduction of new sulphur limits in marine fuel and the International Maritime Organization says the so called "IMO 2020" rule has brought about a 70% cut in total sulphur oxide emissions from shipping.

According to a statement posted on the IMO website, the IMO says the smooth transition and drop in SOx emisions is “testament to the preparations" all stakeholders made prior to the rule entering into force.

The ruling reduces to 0.50% the amount of sulphur allowed in marine fuel oil.

According to IMO's Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS) just 55 cases of 0.50% compliant fuel was reported as unavailable in 2020.

"Given that more than 60,000 ships plied the world's oceans in trade last year, this was a remarkably low percentage of ships encountering difficulty in obtaining compliant fuel. We had a great deal of preparation during 2019 and before, from all stakeholders and all indications are that there have been no significant issues with supply of low sulphur fuel oil,” said Roel Hoenders, Head of Air Pollution and Energy Efficiency at IMO.

Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, cargo-carrying ships continued to deliver goods and commodities, including essential foods and medicines, around the world and the introduction and implementation of IMO 2020 did not cause any disruptions in trade.   

While the majority of ships trading worldwide switched from using heavy fuel oil (HFO) to using VLSFO, some ships have adopted exhaust gas claning systems, allowing the continued use of heavy fuel oil (HFO). This is accepted  under the MARPOL Convention as an alternative means to meet the sulphur limit requirement. Over 2,350 EGCS have formally been reported to IMO as an approved "equivalent method" by Administrations.

IMO says it has not received any reports of safety issues linked to VLSFO to date.

Nonetheless, during 2020, an IMO correspondence group considered fuel oil safety issues in general and the need for further mandatory requirements to ensure fuel oil supplied meets the required standards and quality. The report of the group (MSC 102/6) is available on IMODOCS  and will be discussed at the next session of IMO's Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), MSC 103 in May 2021.

Prior to that, the eighth session of the Sub-Committee on Prevention of Pollution from Ships (PPR 8), scheduled to meet remotely from 22 to 26 March 2021, will further consider VLSFO fuel quality issues, including possible effects on black carbon emissions.

Reader Comments (1)

Delighted to learn of the success detailed in the above regarding sulphur effect reduction in the combustion process Some 20 plus years ago I set up a research project to reduce exhaust pollution in the combustion process The program involved mixing fuel oil with water Prior to injection process. This involved the development of an emulsifier which product upon injection ensured that water was secured within fuel globules. The results were most rewarding. NOx reduced by 80 percent and CO2 by up to 60 percent with water added at various ratios. Surprisingly fuel consumption was also significantly reduced The emulsifier was a small physical device of great reliability and subsequently patented. For more details please contact I.Mar.est Publications in my name. Best wishes to all Ray I;;

By Prof `RAY THOMPSON on Tuesday, February 2, 2021

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