The US Coast Guard (USCG) and many of its international counterparts have said they will clamp down heavily on vessels that break the latest IMO rules on the carriage of non-compliant fuel.
The regulations officially came into force on 1 March 2020 and applies to fuel with more than 0.5% sulphur.
Collectively, they are an amendment to the MARPOL Convention, which sought to substantially reduce the amount of sulphur used on the world’s shipping lanes.
As of 1 January 2020, ships cannot use more than 0.5% in their fuel during a voyage; these rules are known broadly as IMO 2020.
The latest stipulations apply to the carriage of non-compliant fuel, which could then have been used or sold.
The International Chamber of Shipping’s (ICS) Secretary General Guy Platten released this statement on the introduction: “Since the introduction of IMO 2020 on 1st January, ships have been given a ‘grace period’ while the industry transitions to low-sulphur fuel.
“As of 1st March this will no longer be the case. Any ship found in non-compliance faces the prospect of serious fines and even detention.
“The ICS has been made aware that major port State inspection regimes including the United States Coast Guard and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority have made it clear that detention of ships found to be non-compliant is both possible and legally permissible.
“The information ICS received is that shipowners are fully compliant and ready for the 1st March. We are simply reminding shipowners and operators that these new rules came into force as of Sunday 1st March.”
In January 2020, Kitack Lim, the IMO’s Secretary General, praised the shipping industry’s “diligence and dedication” in following the new regulations.