Is the shipping industry ready for the 0.5% global sulphur emission cap by 2020? - Port authorities and maritime administrations' perspective
Chow, He Nian
Date of Issue2018
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Under the revised Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, the global sulphur cap will be reduced from the current 3.5% to 0.5% from 1 January 2020. This marks a stark reduction in the fuel sulphur content of marine fuels used for the global merchant fleet which would imply a significant cost increment for compliance. Four main solutions have been raised for ships to meet the new sulphur regulation in 2020, the use of Low Sulphur Fuel Oil (LSFO), Marine Gas Oils (MGO), abatement technology (Scrubbers), and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). Due to the far-reaching impact of the international regulatory change, many sectors of the industry will be affected. In preparation for the sulphur limit transition, many studies were conducted to assess the readiness of the industry to meet the rules in 2020. The focus was targeted mainly at ship owners and oil producers to draw conclusions based on overall supply and demand factors. However, few reports analyse the ability of port authorities and maritime administrations to effectively put forth the sulphur limit when the changes come into effect. The objective of this study is to investigate the readiness of port authorities and maritime administrations of the signatory states to Annex VI of the MARPOL 73/78 Convention in effectively implementing the sulphur limit changes by 2020. The current implemented policies and measures are investigated to assess how well they address identified transitional challenges in the areas of legal, monitoring and sanction. From the analysis of existing practice and implements, the results indicate that the port authorities and maritime administrations are not fully ready to effectively implement the new sulphur limit in 2020. As legal jurisdiction over vessels sailing on the high seas is the purview of the Flag States, Port and Coastal States with higher stakes are limited in their enforcement jurisdiction. Global emission monitoring is also constrained by the current level of technology and most systems are only operational within coastal waters. In terms of sanctions, the low occurrence of fines imposed and wide variance in the amount between countries destabilises the industrial playing field and impedes an even implementation of the world sulphur limit. Despite the current situation, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has been actively coordinating efforts in resolving key transitional issues in 2020. Therefore, the eventual state of preparation by the port authorities and maritime administrations for the 0.5% sulphur cap may only become clearer nearer to the effective date.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University