Carriage ban now in effect for high sulfur fuel

The following is text of a news release from the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS):

(LONDON) — Port state control authorities began to enforce the International Maritime Organization’s sulfur 2020 rule from March 1, making it an offense for ships to carry fuel that contains a sulfur content higher than 0.5 percent unless the ship has an exhaust gas cleaning system.

The International Chamber of Shipping reminds shipowners and operators of the ban and reiterates the fact that any ships found to be noncompliant face the prospect of detention.

As of March 1, enforcement agencies no longer have to prove usage. Showing that vessels without exhaust gas cleaning systems have noncompliant fuel aboard will be enough to prove a violation. Major port state regimes including Paris MoU, Tokyo MoU and the United States Coast Guard (USCG), have made it plain that they will rigorously enforce the requirements.

“Since the introduction of IMO 2020 on Jan. 1, ships have been given a ‘grace period’ while the industry transitions to low-sulfur fuel," said Guy Platten, ICS secretary-general. "As of March 1, this will no longer be the case. Any ship found in noncompliance faces the prospect of serious fines and even detention.

“The International Chamber of Shipping has been made aware that major port state inspection regimes including the United States Coast Guard and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) have made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that detention of ships found to be noncompliant is both possible and legally permissible."

By Professional Mariner Staff