Air pollution


BIMCO's position on "air pollution" has been approved by the BIMCO Board of Directors.


The revised MARPOL Annex VI on Prevention of Air Pollution from ships entered into force in 2010. It covers sulphur and particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, ozone depleting substances and the energy efficiency of ships.

MARPOL Annex VI introduces a global cap of 0.50% on the sulphur content in marine fuel oil from 2020 in areas outside designated emission control areas. 

A global shift from residual fuels with maximum 3.50% sulphur to primarily distillate fuel with maximum 0.50% sulphur will clearly affect the ability of refineries to produce sufficient low sulphur fuels for the bunker industry to meet demand from day one. Based on BIMCO’s initiative, IMO is now considering these matters to ensure a smooth implementation.

Uniform compliance with the sulphur emission limits and effective enforcement is of critical importance to ensure a level playing field.  It will not be sustainable for compliant ships to compete with non-compliant ships.

A scientific report proves that the shipping industry is only responsible for 1-2% of Black Carbon (BC) in the Arctic.

BIMCO’s position

  • BIMCO supports the requirements for Emission Control Areas (ECAs) as the authoritative framework for implementing regional or national air emission control measures for sulphur and nitrogen oxides.
  • Regional or national regulations for emission control should thus be aligned with existing international provisions.
  • The quality and fitness for use of fuel on board ships are issues that become increasingly important especially with regard to safety and fuel stability when the sulphur content is reduced in residual-like fuel oils.
  • The prospect of a shortfall of compliant fuel is of great concern to BIMCO because of its implications with regard to market distortion.
  • A robust enforcement of applicable sulphur limits is critical to ensure a level playing field for owners.
  • Considering shipping’s share of total black carbon deposition in the Arctic area, a proportionate response does not justify regulating international shipping’s black carbon emissions in that region.


Rasmus Nord Jorgensen
in Copenhagen, DK

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