Standard Club warns on “wait and watch” strategy on forthcoming sulphur cap

Standard Club has noted that, with less than 18 months to go until the 2020 global sulphur cap deadline, several ship owners and operators were still maintaining a “wait and watch stance”, possibly anticipating an extension from the IMO.

However, Standard Club said that, based on the outcome from the recent meeting of the IMO’s Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR) sub-committee and Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), the possibility of any extension was “highly unlikely”.

Standard Club observed that, after a slow initial take-up when the cap was first announce,  a high number of ships since then had ordered or were installing scrubbers. As a result, recent reports from industry sources asserted that most of the suppliers could not now deliver scrubbers until after 2020. Standard Club said that this would “leave a large segment exposed to possible non-compliance and a practical/pragmatic approach from the enforcement agencies (PSCs) would be the least expected once the mandatory regulations are in force”.

The club continued to remind its members that cover for fines arising from breaches of low-sulphur fuel regulations and other MARPOL violations would be “strictly discretionary”. It strongly recommended that the charter-party contains suitable clauses to protect the party in question (whether as owner or charterer), including indemnities covering losses that may arise from wrong supply, fines and delays.