SAMSA publishes marine notices on 2020 sulphur cap

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has published two Marine Notices on the fuel sulphur cap regulations to be implemented from January 1st 2020.

Marine Notice 8 of 2019 advised that the MARPOL Annex VI limit of 0.50% m/m sulphur content in fuel oil would be in force from January 1st 2020 unless the vessel was using an approved equivalent means of compliance. Unlike some authorities, SAMSA said that, until further notice, South Africa would accept all types of approved scrubbers – closed loop and open loop.

The notice also confirmed that the carriage ban would come into effect on March 1st 2020.

SAMSA said that it had not received any firm commitments from suppliers regarding the availability of compliant fuels. However, it noted that the International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) had expressed confidence that compliant fuel would be available in South African ports by January 1st 2020.

Marine Notice 9 of 2019 outlined the procedure for reporting non-availability of compliant fuel.

In evaluating the circumstances described in a submitted Fuel Oil Non-Availability Report, SAMSA said that it would give consideration to actions taken to minimize the amount of excess emissions, such as purchase of the next cleanest fuel oil possible. SAMSA said that it would not consider the cost of compliant fuel oil to be a valid basis for claiming nonavailability of  0.50% m/m fuel oil.