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20.12.2019 Business & Finance

IMO Caps Sulphur On Marine Fuel At Compulsory 0.50% From 2020

By Ina-Thalia Quansah
IMO Caps Sulphur On Marine Fuel At Compulsory 0.50% From 2020
LISTEN DEC 20, 2019

Ghana Shippers' Authority and Ghana Maritime Authority has educated stakeholders in the maritime industry on IMO 202 Sulphur Cap implementation in the Western Region.

About 570, 000 premature deaths relating to respiratory and other health complications from ship emissions could occur, between now and 2025, if ships continue to use fuel with the current 3.5 per cent sulphur content.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has thus decided to place a compulsory 0.50% sulphur cap on marine fuel from 2020, a decision which is arguably said to be one of the industry's most defining moments since the shift away from coal.

According to the IMO’s, the main type of “bunker” oil for ships is heavy fuel oil, derived as a residue from crude oil distillation. Crude oil contains sulphur which, following combustion in the engine, ends up in ship emissions.

Sulphur oxides (SOx) are known to be harmful to human health, causing respiratory symptoms and lung disease. In the atmosphere, SOx can lead to acid rain, which can harm crops, forests and aquatic species, and contributes to the acidification of the oceans hence limiting SOx emissions from ships will improve air quality and protects the environment.

Older vessels, however, are expected to put up strategic management plans to avoid excess pollution and other effects on aquatic lives.

The SDGs 13, 14 and 3 under the UN 2030 agenda enjoins member countries to pay attention to issues on global warming through the adaptation strategies and progressive programming to save the environment

At one of the engagements in Takoradi, the third in the series of a nationwide stakeholder sensitization on the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) 2020 Sulphur Cap Regulation, the Director-General of the Ghana Maritime Authority, Thomas K. Alonsi, indicated Ghana’s preparedness to ensure enforcement to this directive was very crucial in saving lives and maintaining standards in the shipping industry.

He explained that the 2020 Sulphur Cap is basically to reduce the fuel that the ships are using presently which contains about 3.5% sulphur content.

“It pollutes the environment and leads to acidification of ocean; if it is reduced or eliminated, it is the human being who will be the beneficiary``.

He explained further that come January 2020 is the beginning of the new regulation but there will be a transition period.

“We still going to work with the industry players to ensure that they will become compliant within a certain minimum period after which we realize that some are determined to do things in their way than as a regulatory body we begin to apply sanction; we have the power to fine on those who are not compliant”.

Head of Freight and Logistics at the Ghana Shippers Authority Fred Asiedu – Dartey says the sensitization has become important for Industry Stakeholders to catch up on key global industry issues that can change the face of the industry and the impact of IMO 2020 Sulphur cap regulations on shipping costs.

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