The 6th session of the PPR Sub-Committee considered various issues in relation to the implementation of the 2020 sulphur cap, including control measures by Port states, possible non-availability of compliant fuel and possible safety implications related to the use of low sulphur fuels. Guidelines for Consistent Implementation of the 0.5% Sulphur Limit were finalised for adoption at MEPC 74, including information on identified potential safety implications associated with compliant fuels and a format for a Fuel Oil Non-Availability Report (FONAR) to be used in circumstances where a vessel has been unable to source compliant fuel.
Discussions on how to treat vessels that are found to have non-compliant fuel, even though they have stemmed and paid for compliant fuel and have a BDN confirming it to be so, were inconclusive. Guidance was developed for port states on contingency measures for addressing non-compliant fuel, but it will be necessary for MEPC to give some consideration to concrete proposals for measures in this regard.
Proposals for ad-hoc sampling of fuels by port state authorities prior to delivery to ships were rejected, on the grounds that this would create too much of an administrative burden. Amendments to MARPOL Annex VI were developed, however, in relation to sampling by port states on board ships of both the in-use fuel and of fuel in bunker tanks that is not yet being used. Guidelines have been agreed for sampling of in-use fuel and further guidance needs to be developed for sampling of bunker tanks.