Countdown to 2020: Updates on the IMO Fuel Sulphur Cap


The reduction of the MARPOL Annex VI global fuel sulphur cap to 0.5% will come into force on 1 January 2020. However, discussions on implementation and enforcement continue at IMO.

Some important aspects of the sulphur cap were discussed at 73rd session of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC.73).  

Key outcomes of MEPC.73 included:

  • As expected, the prohibition on the carriage of bunker fuel with a sulphur content greater than 0.5% was adopted and will enter into force on 1 March 2020
  • The proposal from some administrations and shipping organisations of an “experience building phase” was rejected. However, the committee did invite further proposals on how to enhance implementation of the regulations
  • A draft MEPC circular that provides guidance for fuel oil suppliers on assuring the quality of fuel oil was approved
  • A draft MEPC circular that provides guidance on the development of a ship implementation plan (SIP) was approved

The International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) has published a useful summary of the key outcomes of MEPC.73 and can be read here.

Find out more about the global fuel sulphur cap, including options on compliance and potential charterparty and contractual impacts, at our 2020 Vision insights area here.