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Draft guidance to support planning for the implementation from 1 January 2020 of the lower limit of 0.50% for sulphur content in fuel oil used by ships has been developed by an International Maritime Organization (IMO) PPR intersessional meeting (9-13 July). The draft guidance is part of a set of guidelines being developed by IMO to help ensure the consistent implementation of the MARPOL regulation coming into effect from 1 January 2020. This will cut the limit for sulphur content in fuel oil to 0.50% mass by mass (m/m), from 3.50%. (The limit will remain at 0.10% in the four internationally designated Emission Control Areas (ECAs): the Baltic Sea area; the North Sea area; the North American area (covering designated coastal areas off the United States and Canada); and the United States Caribbean Sea area (around Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands).  The guidance includes sections on:

  • risk assessment and mitigation plan (impact of new fuels);
  • fuel oil system modifications 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.

The draft guidance is expected to be approved at the next session of IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 73), 22-26 October 2018. A more comprehensive document containing guidelines of a more operational nature to help operators manage both distillate fuels and fuel oil blends containing residual fuel will be developed at PPR in February next year for approval by MEPC 74 in May, 2019.

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The IMO's 2018 World Maritime Day will celebrate 70 years of helping international shipping become safer, more secure and develop a greener environmental footprint. A short animated film shows how IMO has developed mandatory international regulations covering almost every aspect of shipping. As a result, modern shipping conforms to the highest practicable standards and is the safest, cleanest and most efficient way to move goods around the world.  The animation traces IMO's voyage from the 1948 United Nations conference in Geneva, which saw its founding convention adopted, through to the present day. It highlights key developments such as new rules for tanker safety following the infamous Torrey Canyon incident in 1967, the satellite-based Global Maritime Distress and Safety System and the designation of several vital environmentally sensitive areas around the world which today receive special protection from shipping.

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The US Maritime Administration (MARAD) posted Maritime Advisory 2018-009 to update on areas of violence due to regional conflict and piracy.  Conflict may affect vessels transiting the southern Red Sea, Bab al Mandeb Strait and Gulf of Aden, while concerns piracy remain in the southern Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean, and Gulf of Oman. The newly released Best Management Practices to Deter Piracy and Enhance Maritime Security in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea (BMP5), and Maritime Global Security website at (which contains BMP5) provide excellent security recommendations and should be consulted prior to operating in the above listed geographic areas.

Friday, 20 July 2018 11:29

ZIM teams up with 2M Alliance

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Israel-based shipping giant Zim Integrated Shipping Services has joined into a partnership with the 2M Alliance, one of the world’s largest shipping groups, to open trade lines between the east coast of the United States and Asia. The 2M Alliance includes Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Company. Starting in September, the companies will operate five loops between Asia and the US east coast. Zim will operate one loop and 2M will operate four loops, and the parties will swap slots on all loops. 

Friday, 20 July 2018 11:14

Refiner in China charters 60 tankers

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China’s independent refiner Baota Petrochemical Group plans to bareboat charter 60 product tankers from a number of international tanker owners, including Maersk Tankers, Hafnia Tankers, and Scorpio Tankers.  McQuilling Partners Inc. shipbrokers and Mare Maritime Singapore ship management service providers have a role to play. Baota is operates refineries based in Xinjiang, Ningxia, Inner Mongolia and Guandong with a total annual refining capacity of 15 million tons.

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The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has invited the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to develop a standard for methyl/ethyl alcohol as a marine fuel and a standard for methyl/ethyl alcohol couplings.  There are currently 8 vessels that operate on Methanol as fuel, the ropax Stena Germanica and seven tankers operated by Waterfornt Shipping, with an additional four ships to enter into service in 2019.  This is the first time ISO has considered these fuel types.





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The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) governing body, the IMO Council, approved the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) application for consultative status on 5 July 2018.  “Consultative status gives us the opportunity to promote diversity, inclusion and women’s empowerment, which are our main aims,” said WISTA International President Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou. “We can now formally contribute to the discussion for increasing capacity in our industry, a critical component of which is promoting women in the industry, both shoreside and shipboard. WISTA’s efforts support the overarching principles in IMO’s Strategic Plan, especially the promotion of Gender Equality and the empowerment of women.”  WISTA International has more than 3,000 members worldwide representating 44 National WISTA Associations.




Tuesday, 10 July 2018 11:16

IMO sets 2019 Word Maritime Day theme



"Empowering Women in the Maritime Community" has been selected as the World Maritime Day theme for 2019. This will provide an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of gender equality, in line with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and to highlight the important contribution of women all over the world to the maritime sector. The Council of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), meeting for its 120th session at IMO Headquarters in London, endorsed the theme, following a proposal by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim. IMO has been making a concerted effort to help the industry move forward and help women achieve a representation that is in keeping with twenty-first century expectations. This work has been focused through IMO's gender and capacity building programme, which is now in its thirtieth year.



Tuesday, 10 July 2018 10:56

Container carriers halt Iran services

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CMA CGM, Hyundai Merchant Marine, Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Co have all withdrawn their Iranian services in advance of US Sanctions being imposed on Iran.  While no date has yet been set for the sanctions, the carriers will want to avoid being caught in secondary actions that will be imposed by the United States against companies that continue to deal with Iran.  COSCO Shipping is part of the Ocean Alliance that has restructured its Asia-Middle East Services and dropped calling Bandar Abbas, however it is not known if COSCO still plans to continue trading with Iran.





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This week, an Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander threatened that Tehran will block oil shipments through the waterway in response to US calls to ban all Iranian oil exports. The Trump administration is demanding all countries end imports of Iranian oil by 4 November as part of its new policy of hostility towards Tehran after Washington’s unilateral exit from the 2015 nuclear agreement.  With a third of the world’s sea-borne oil passing through it every day, the Strait of Hormuz is a strategic artery linking Middle East crude producers to key markets in Asia Pacific, Europe, North America and beyond.  The US military quickly responded, vowing to keep the Gulf waterways open to oil tankers and "ensure the freedom of navigation ... wherever international law allows."

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China's State Council has released a three-year action plan to improve air quality. The plan expects that by 2020 emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides will decline at least 15 percent from 2015 levels, while cities with low air quality standards should see their PM 2.5 density fall at least 18 percent.  The Ministry of Transport has issued a notice requiring all vessels which will be imported in China for domestic trade as of 1st September 2018 will have to comply with the emission limit requirements specified in Annex VI of the Pollution Prevention Convention of MARPOL 73/78.  Vessels will need to meet Tier II emission standards and the age limitation criteria of max 18 years old wont apply any more and it valid for 5 years.

China also recently announced a three-year action plan to improve its transport network and services. By 2020, China will have 30,000 kilometers of high-speed railway, covering 80 percent of Chinese cities with a population of over 1 million, according to the plan which lists 76 targets. The country also aims to add some 180 new deep-water berths at its seaports for 10,000-tonne vessels and above.

Friday, 06 July 2018 10:47

Mediterranean ECA a step closer

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A new study has been launched into the feasibility of implementing an emission control area (ECA) to limit the release of sulphur oxides (SOx) from ships in the Mediterranean Sea. The research is also expected to examine the potential health benefits for people living around Mediterranean, as well as cost implications for shipowners and other issues. The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (REMPEC) will be responsible for coordinating the study, which will investigate whether the Mediterranean Sea, or parts of it, can be marked as a SOx-ECA under IMO’s prevention of pollution convention (MARPOL) Annex VI.

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