Further sulphur cap guidance from Shipowners’ Club

As the 2020 sulphur cap deadline approaches, Shipowners’ Club has followed up on its 2018 infographic which provided preliminary information on the 2020 Global Sulphur Limit. The earlier publication  identified four possible methods that Members could opt for in order to comply with the sulphur cap of 0.5% m/m:

  • Install a scrubber system which will allow vessels to use whatever fuel oil is available.
  • Switch to low sulphur oil, for example Intermediate Fuel Oil (IFO) or Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) that has been treated to reduce the sulphur content.
  • Switch to a distillate fuel such as Marine Diesel Oil (MDO) or Marine Gas Oil (MGO).
  • Use an alternative fuel source like Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG), Methanol or Hydrogen.

The Club envisioned that operators of larger vessels might be more likely to adopt scrubber systems, but noted that these required space for installation, which might not be available on smaller tonnage. Availability of dry dock spaces for retrofitting on existing vessels might also restrict operators from choosing this option.

Switching to low sulphur oil (treated IFO or HFO) might then be the next best financially viable option if scrubber systems were not possible. Members who were able might opt to switch to distillate fuels, which were more expensive, but had naturally lower sulphur contents, especially where their vessels were intermittently trading within an ECA.

Some Members might choose to invest in technological developments, selecting alternative fuels. Whilst this might have a relatively slow uptake in its infancy, the Club said that, as further technical advances were developed, more vessels were expected to be fitted with these new systems.

The Club emphasized that accurate and clear records were vital to demonstrate the vessel’s compliance with the revised sulphur limit. Members were encouraged to ensure their systems are robust enough to avoid doubt.