IMO quashes Greek minister’s proposal to postpone sulphur cap implementation

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) moved quickly this week to dispel any hopes that the implementation of the IMO 2020 sulphur cap might be postponed.

Its move followed a proposal on by Ioannis Plakiotakis, the Greek minister of maritime affairs and insular policy, that the sulphur cap ought to be delayed because of safety fears.

Plakiotakis was addressing the 31st IMO assembly opening session, following a similar proposal earlier by the Union of Greek Shipowners.

The IMO said that there is no chance that the regulation would or could be delayed.

Plakiotakis told delegates that “we are yet to be confronted with the full-scale reality of the availability, compatibility and safety challenges and grave risks of the new marine low sulphur fuel oils, especially blended ones.” He said that he feared disruptions to world trade and fatalities from the incoming fuel transition. He proposed therefore that the IMO should consider a postponement of the sulphur cap.