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The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR) is meeting at the IMO headquarters this week to finalise draft guidelines for the verification of the sulphur content of the fuel oil carried for use on board ships and also continue its work on scrubber guidelines.

In a statement posted on its website today (17 February), IMO said that to ‘assist the discussions’ on scrubbers, a report from a task team established by the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP) has been submitted. IMO added that the report included ‘recommendations on the data, tools and approach that could be used as basis for conducting a risk assessment of the possible effects of discharges’.

As previously reported by Bunkerspot, a number of major ports – including Singapore and Fujairah – have imposed restrictions on the discharge of wastewater from open-loop scrubbers. However, the current price differential between low and high sulphur marine fuel does appear to be supporting the commercial argument for installing scrubbers. For example, DHT, when announcing its fourth quarter results last week, reported that it had ' to date made 15 bunkerings of HFO for its scrubber fitted vessels with a total saving of $14.6 million compared to if it had bunkered compliant fuel’.

IMO said that marine biosafety is ‘also high on the agenda’ and the Sub-Committee will consider ways to minimise shipping’s impact on the Arctic environment. IMO added: ‘It is expected to progress work on developing measures to reduce the risks of use and carriage of heavy fuel oil as fuel by ships in Arctic waters; and on reducing the impact on the Arctic of Black Carbon emissions from international shipping.’

Earlier today, a group of NGOs told Bunkerspot that they were again calling on IMO to agree to a new regulation ‘banning the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil (HFO) as fuel by ships operating in Arctic waters’.

Dr Sian Prior, Lead Advisor to the Clean Arctic Alliance, argued: ‘The IMO must not entertain any arguments calling for a delay in the implementation of an Arctic ban on HFO. The use and carriage of HFO in the Arctic is increasing, with a 46% increase in the volume of HFO fuel carried by ships in the Arctic between 2015 and 2017, and a 57% increase in the amount of HFO used - and this will only increase the risks of HFO spills and impacts from black carbon in the region [4]. IMO Member States, in particular Arctic governments, must cooperate on the delivery of a ban as quickly as possible.’

GLOBAL: Tokyo and Paris MoUs: stipulations of IMO 2020 and fuel oil carriage ban will be applied ‘without exception’

GLOBAL: DHT says scrubbers have already saved it more than $14 million in bunker costs

GLOBAL: CAA invites engagement with industry bodies on shipping’s black carbon emissions

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