BIMCO calls on IMO to adapt more accurate sulphur verification procedures


BIMCO and partners have submitted a paper to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), proposing ways to secure a uniform and more accurate way of interpreting results, when measuring the level of sulphur in fuel oil.

The proposal has been submitted to the IMO by Panama, ICS, BIMCO, INTERTANKO, INTERCARGO and WSC ahead of the Intersessional Meeting on sulphur implementation on July 9-13.

The aim of the proposal is to secure easy-to-understand, easy-to-implement and uniform verification procedures of test results for both MARPOL samples and in-use fuel oil samples. Solid verification is important in order to achieve clarity and uniformity in enforcement across the globe, when the 0.50% m/m fuel oil sulphur limit enters into force on 1 January 2020.

The proposal aims to assist enforcement authorities unambiguously determine whether or not the sulphur content of a fuel oil sample meets the limits set out in regulation 14 of MARPOL Annex VI.

“It is imperative that the shipping industry is provided with measures to ensure consistent implementation of the 0.50% m/m global sulphur limit. In particular, from regulatory, practical and statistical viewpoints, cosponsors believe that robust procedures for verification of sulphur content testing should be put in place, yielding consistent results without areas of ambiguity and complexity,” BIMCO and partners say in the proposal.

The current IMO verification procedure contained in Appendix VI to MARPOL Annex VI is a mashup of some elements from the ISO verification procedure, making the outcome random and difficult for ship operators and PSC authorities to understand. BIMCO and partners firmly believe the current verification procedure fails to be statistically sound.

One of the proposals in the document therefore calls for the IMO to replace the Appendix VI with an appropriate reference to the ISO 4259 standard.

The document also includes proposals to add a definition of "sulphur content" in regulation 2 of MARPOL Annex VI and to unify verification procedures for both MARPOL samples and in-use fuel oil samples.


Mette Kronholm Frænde
in Copenhagen, DK


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