Bunker Industry Welcomes MSC Move on Fuel Safety

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  • The International Bunker Industry Association decided to support fuel safety concerns at the 100th session of MSC in early December 2018.
  • A proposal was also made to bring all fuel safety-related requirements of regulation 18 of MARPOL Annex VI under the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC).
  • Fuels with off-spec flashpoint continue to be supplied to ships in spite of flash point limit being covered under SOLAS and ISO 8217.
  • MSC to address fuel safety in its agenda for MSC 101, as a new item.

The International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) has welcomed a decision by the International Maritime Organization (IMO)’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) adding a new item to its agenda addressing concerns about fuel safety. This decision will separate the subject from discussions around the implementation of the new 0.50% sulphur limit under the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) Annex VI, reports Asian Oils and Gas.

When was the decision taken?

According to an IBIA release, the decision was made at the 100th session of MSC held at IMO’s London headquarters in the first week of December 2018. It followed the discussion of a proposal put forward by Liberia and a group of shipping organizations to bring all fuel safety-related requirements of regulation 18 of MARPOL Annex VI under MSC, preferably by developing regulatory amendments to incorporate these provisions within the SOLAS Convention.

The Best Way Forward

The subject was discussed at length at MSC 100 and views were divergent about the best way forward. IBIA urged caution on the proposal to incorporate safety provisions in SOLAS, telling MSC 100 that the proposal was vague with regards to how safety aspects might be incorporated into the regulation. Meanwhile, IBIA said the ISO 8217 marine fuel standard, is adaptable and can be updated as and when new information becomes available and is well understood with regards which parameters have an impact on the safe use of fuel.

What is the present scenario?

At present, the minimum 60°C flash point limit for marine fuels is covered both under SOLAS and ISO 8217. That has not, however, prevented fuels with off-spec flashpoint from being supplied to ships. ISO 8217 covers several other safety-related parameters which are routinely tested. While off-specs do happen, the vast majority of supplied fuels meet the limits.

After a long debate, MSC 100 agreed that while fuel safety was a longstanding existing concern which needed to be carefully addressed, this should not affect Member States’ commitment to implementing the 2020 sulfur limit. It was also agreed that MSC does need to address safety issues and that this will be included in its agenda for MSC 101 as a new item on “Development of further measures to enhance the safety of ships relating to the use of fuel oil”.

2021 to bring enhanced Safety Measures

Member States and international organizations were invited to submit concrete proposals to MSC 101 under this new agenda item. The scope of work was agreed as follows: “Based on the review of existing safety provisions for fuel oil and information concerning the safety implications associated with the use of fuel oil, develop further measures to enhance the safety of ships relating to the use of fuel oil”. The target completion date is 2021.

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Source: Asian Oils & Gas

 

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