ABS issues fuel advisory ahead of 2020 sulfur cap

The following is text of a news release from the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS):

(HOUSTON) — ABS has issued the ABS Advisory on Marine Fuel Oil to help industry prepare for International Maritime Organization's 2020 global sulfur cap. The advisory provides owners and operators with guidance on the considerations and challenges with marine fuels which are likely to be used in addressing the 2020 global sulfur cap requirements.

“The IMO 2020 sulfur cap requirement will introduce a significant demand change from heavy fuel to low-sulfur fuel almost overnight. The industry currently is debating how to prepare as the consequences of this shift are difficult to predict,“ said Dr. Kirsi Tikka, ABS executive vice president and senior maritime adviser. “The ABS advisory addresses concerns about the safety impacts and quality of the new blended and hybrid fuels that are currently not covered by the ISO fuel standard, and provides guidance on fuel selection, modification considerations and operational challenges.”

In a recent informal poll of shipowners and operators conducted by ABS, 53 percent said their fleets were not yet ready to meet upcoming sulfur cap requirements. As the deadline for compliance approaches, it is vital that industry consider the available options and the impacts on their fleets. The ABS advisory provides in-depth technical guidance covering a range of topics, from fuel properties to operational risks to potential preparations. Using this advisory to understand the implications of different marine fuels, owners and operators can make smarter decisions on the future of their fleets.

The available options to comply with the global sulfur cap include exhaust gas cleaning, burning compliant fuel or alternative fuels. In 2010 ABS provided guidance on switching from heavy fuel to 0.1 percent sulfur fuel when entering Emission Control Areas. This advisory has been widely used by the industry and ABS has now updated this guidance to cover the regulation entering into force in January 2020.

The updated ABS advisory includes background on air emission regulations and evaluates several relevant fuel types and the associated impacts and operational challenges for each.

To download the ABS Advisory on Marine Fuel Oil, click here.

By Professional Mariner Staff