IMO enacts new requirements for reporting fuel oil consumption


In early 2020, operators of vessels of 5,000 gross tons and above will have to report fuel oil consumption data under new requirements from the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

The amendments that entered into force March 1 will require operators to submit specific data on the types of fuel oil used each calendar year. The IMO will then use the information to develop initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The IMO is asking flag states to voluntarily collect data in 2018, but the first mandatory data reporting period is 2019.

The IMO program is separate from the European Union’s Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) system, which began Jan. 1. The EU system requires more information from each vessel than the IMO system, said Kathy Metcalf, president and CEO of the Chamber of Shipping of America.

“While there is a goal to align the two systems eventually, for now, vessels trading to (and) from the EU will have to comply with both reporting systems,” she said.

Under the IMO regulations, vessels must submit a report each year to receive a certificate of compliance from the flag state. The flag state will forward the fuel data to the IMO, and port state control will review the certificate to ensure a vessel has complied with the reporting requirements. Any penalties for violation would fall under MARPOL Annex VI regulations and would be levied by the port state or the flag state, Metcalf said.

The reporting requirements include basic vessel data, distance traveled and hours underway. Fuel data includes fuel oil consumption by type in metric tons, and the method used for collecting consumption data. The IMO will anonymize the data so individual ships will not be identified.

The data is already collected on many ships, but it may not be in the particular format required by the flag state.

“It’s likely that shipping companies will create a spreadsheet in which to enter the data as it is generated for engine and deck logbooks,” Metcalf said. “The burden should be minimal for the ship’s crew once the template is established for data entry and, of course, whatever time is necessary to submit to the flag state at the end of each calendar year.”

The cost of compliance should be reasonably low, primarily involving the time needed for crew and shoreside personnel to prepare and submit the report, Metcalf said. At this point, it’s unknown where U.S.-flagged vessels will submit the report, as both the U.S. Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency are involved in MARPOL regulations.

“My guess is that the Coast Guard will be the collector, but it’s not certain at this time,” Metcalf said.

New MARPOL garbage reporting requirements also entered into force on March 1. Under the new regulations, vessels that carry solid bulk cargoes will now have to declare whether the cargo residue is harmful to the marine environment. Amendments to MARPOL Annex V list seven categories of bulk cargoes that are considered harmful to the marine environment.

Also, electronic waste was added as a category of garbage. However, most vessels already discharge their e-waste ashore, so the reporting won’t affect them, Metcalf said.

By Professional Mariner Staff