Concerns remain over the use of low-sulphur fuel

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Stuart Edmonston, Loss Prevention Director, UK P&I Club comments on the increased demand for using low-sulphur fuels in shipping and says that concerns remain.

There are increasing demands on shipowners to comply with mandates regarding the use of low-sulphur fuels in ships.  The move towards using cleaner fuels supports a global drive to reducing carbon emissions, with many countries forming new or reforming old regulations.

Shipowners need to be aware of the differing rules and costs across jurisdictions as they face significant fines for non-compliance.  Hong Kong and Australia are the latest to introduce their own bespoke requirements.

The requirements impose criminal sanctions against the owners (including any bareboat charterers and ship manager) and the Master.  A contravention of the provisions relating to fuel use attracts a maximum fine of HK$200,000 and a maximum imprisonment of six months.

Industry concerns include technical issues such as low viscosity, lack of lubricity, low density, etc., of the new fuels.  Other issues are the higher costs of these fuels, as well as difficulties in obtaining them in some parts of the world.

To avoid such problems, shipowners should consult their engine and boiler manufacturers for advice on operating with low-sulphur fuels and the need for equipment and system modifications.

Source: UK P&I

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