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Amendment for Scrubber Accepted as an Alternative to Compliant Fuel Oils at MEPC 73

Updates to MARPOL Annex VI at MEPC 73

During the recent Maritime Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 73) meeting an amendment was adopted to ban the carriage of ship fuel oil exceeding the 0.50% sulphur limit requirement on board a vessel with the exception of ships that have installed an exhaust gas cleaning system (scrubber) prior to the upcoming MARPOL Annex VI entry into force. It is anticipated that this amendment will enter into force on March 1, 2019. The amendment doesn’t change the current date of compliance for the 0.50% sulphur limit (0.10% in emission control areas) of January 1, 2018.

In addition, a set of guidelines for implementation planning and best practices for fuel suppliers for the “Sulphur 2020” limit were approved. The planning guidelines include:

  • “risk assessment and mitigation plan (impact of new fuels);
  • fuel oil system modification and tank cleaning (if needed);
  • fuel oil capacity and segregation capability;
  • procurement of compliant fuel;
  • fuel oil changeover plan (conventional residual fuel oils to 0.50% Sulphur compliant fuel oil); and,
  • documentation and reporting.” 1

The best practices for fuel suppliers offers guidance on fuel oil purchases to unloading as well as information on the quality of compliant fuel oil.

Proposals on Fuel Availability for MEPC 74 Discussions

The Committee asked for proposals regarding an experience-building phase with further discussion at the next MEPC meeting in May 2019. The focus of this discussion will be on fuel oil availability as well as areas of non-availability of compliant fuels oils. Operators are encouraged to report the availability of fuel oils through the IMO Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS) MARPOL Annex VI module.

For the complete summary released by the IMO, go to

The US Coast Guard guidance outlining on the MARPOL Annex VI, Regulation in regard to the unavailability of engines needed to comply with the Tier III performance standards. In the short-term, the Coast Guard will accept engines certified to meet the EPA Clean Air Act Tier 3 requirements. See the paper, Exercise of Enforcement Discretion with regard to MARPOL Annex VI Regulation at

1IMO Implementation of sulphur 2020 limit – carriage ban adopted,   October26, 2018. Accessed October 31, 2018

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