MARINA to assess local application of sulfur cap policy by Q2

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MARINA to assess local application of sulfur cap policy by Q2
Image by PortCalls from Pixabay
  • The Maritime Industry Authority will assess domestic ships’ implementation of the International Maritime Organization’s sulfur cap policy
  • MARINA Memorandum Circular SR-2020-06 requires all Philippine-registered ships plying the domestic trade and all newly-constructed ships and imported brand-new and secondhand vessels to comply with the global 0.50% m/m sulfur cap on marine fuel oil by January 1, 2025
  • The assessment will start from the second quarter, according to MARINA administrator Sonia Malaluan
  • Only a few ship owners have submitted their ship-specific implementation plan to date

The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) will assess domestic ships’ implementation of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) sulfur cap policy, MARINA administrator Sonia Malaluan said in a recent media briefing.

Only a few ship owners have submitted their ship-specific implementation plan to date, she added. The policy will be enforced in 2025.

The assessment will start by the second quarter “so the necessary intervention” may be issued by the fourth quarter.

“We cannot determine without the data so our action will depend on the status of compliance and the plan to comply,” Malaluan explained.

MARINA Memorandum Circular (MC) SR-2020-06, requires all Philippine-registered ships plying the domestic trade and all newly-constructed ships and imported brand-new and secondhand vessels should comply with the global 0.50% m/m sulfur cap on marine fuel oil by January 1, 2025.

This is in compliance with the IMO International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL Convention) Annex VI, which the Philippines ratified in 2018.

The MARPOL Convention annex requires all ships in non-emission control area zones to limit the sulfur content of their fuels from 3.50% to 0.50% by January 1, 2020.

The regulation applies to all ships, whether on international voyages between two or more countries, or on domestic voyages.

The sulfur cap policy aims to reduce the amount of sulfur oxides emanating from ships for global health and environmental benefits, particularly of populations living close to ports and coasts.

The policy has been enforced on foreign-flagged ships and Philippine-flagged vessels plying international trade since January 1, 2020, in compliance with the global implementation schedule.

For domestic ships, MARINA earlier said implementation would be in phases to help ease the cost impact on domestic shipping companies and give oil suppliers time to acquire their supplies of compliant fuels.

MARINA Shipyards Regulation Service director Ramon Hernandez earlier noted that according to the IMO, “it’s up [to] the flag state” how it would implement the policy.

Hernandez earlier told PortCalls they will be conducting a workshop with domestic shipowners this April to thresh out their concerns on implementation.

Malaluan clarified though that they have not yet decided to push back implementation but they are open to doing so depending on the ship owners’ plans.

She noted that for shipowners with a big fleet, they don’t expect immediate compliance for all their vessels as it will entail huge costs and might end up disrupting operations and the domestic trade.

Malaluan also said she believes the supply of compliant fuel will follow with the demand and that suppliers are just on a wait-and-see mode.

Under MC SR 2020-06, fuel oils to be used on board ships for propulsion or operation, including all gas, petrol, distillates, residual and blended fuels, should have a maximum sulfur content of 0.50% per m/m.

There are, however, exemptions from compliance, such as when a ship is acting to secure the safety of the ship or to save a life at sea, or obtains a fuel oil non-availability report because fuel was not available at the port of origin.

Also an exemption is when a ship fitted with an exhaust gas cleaning system (EGCS) experiences unintentional damage, resulting in emissions exceeding the sulfur limit.

When this happens, the ship is expected to take all reasonable steps to reduce emissions, including carrying out repair works or switching to compliant fuel.

Ships that are operating an approved EGCS can use and carry fuel oil with a sulfur content that is more than 0.50% per m/m.

MARINA also allows alternative measures for compliance, such as the use of alternative fuel like liquefied natural gas, or compliant marine diesel oil that has sulfur content of 0.50% per m/m or less.

A company or person that violates or contravenes MC SR 2020-06 stands to face an administrative fine of P3 million plus suspension of the Authority to Operate. – Roumina Pablo

READ: Marina eyes 15% cut in PH-registered ships’ GHG emissions by 2028