At the end of 2019, the Suez Canal Authority issued a circular (no. 8/2019) related to the IMO 2020 sulphur regulation, in which it also placed a ban on the discharge of wash water from open-loop scrubbers while transiting the Canal.
The circular has been read by BIMCO, and it does not say that the use of High Sulphur Fuel Oil (HSFO) is allowed while sailing in Egyptian waters. The circular only addresses that Egypt is not yet a signature state to MARPOL Annex VI and thus cannot enforce MARPOL Annex VI as a coastal state or as a port state.
BIMCO believes it is however important to remember that if the ship’s flag state is a signature state to MARPOL Annex VI, the use of HSFO is not allowed, regardless of which waters the ships is sailing in, unless the ship has an approved scrubber installed.
Furthermore, it should be emphasised that even for ships not flying the flag of a signatory state to MARPOL Annex VI, it would be a breach of the “no more favourable treatment” provision of MARPOL 73, Article 5, paragraph (4) if the ship burned HSFO without operating a scrubber when subsequently calling a port of a signatory state.
(4) With respect to the ships of non-Parties to the Convention [MARPOL], Parties shall apply the requirements of the present Convention as may be necessary to ensure that no more favourable treatment is given to such ships.
It is BIMCO’s understanding, based on the wording of the circular, that discharge of wash water from open-loop scrubbers while transiting the Suez Canal is banned, whereas fuel oil with a sulphur content exceeding 0.50% may be used in connection with hybrid scrubbers or closed-loop scrubbers while transiting the Canal, as long as no wash water is discharged. However, the use of non-compliant HSFO is not allowed without the use of a scrubber.