IMO Institutes New Sulfur Emission Regulations

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The International Maritime Organization (IMO) (London, United Kingdom) will pass a rule that considerably reduces sulfur oxide (SOx) emissions. The new rule, dubbed IMO 2020, is slated to go into effect on January 1, 2020.

According to the IMO 2020 rule, the limit for SOx in marine fuel oil used to power ships outside designated emission control areas (ECAs) will be reduced from the current mark of 3.5% m/m to 0.5% m/m. In ECAs, the limit will remain at 0.1%. IMO expects that the SOx emission change will encourage increased use of new or alternative compliant fuel sources such as very low sulfur fuel oil (VLSFO), or marine gas/diesel oil.

IMO hosted a Symposium on IMO 2020 and Alternative Fuels on October 17-18, 2019 that included speakers from member governments such as Denmark, Japan, the Marshall Islands, and Singapore, as well as speakers from the shipping, refineries, fuel oil suppliers, and legal industries. "Collaboration among key stakeholders is essential for the smooth landing of IMO 2020," says IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim.

Representatives from IMO member states say that they were prepared to implement and enforce the IMO 2020 rule. Additionally, representatives from the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA) and the International Bunker Industry Association say that supplies of VLSFO will be available on board their ships by or before the implementation of IMO 2020. "It is all going to be about market dynamics—but supply and demand will get in balance. It will not be an easy transition, but we will get there," says IPIECA Chair Eddy van Bouwel.

For more information about the recent symposium, visit the IMO website.

Source: International Maritime Organization,