EMSA Publishes Guidance on Testing Fuels for Sulphur

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The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) has provided a guide on inspecting ships for compliance with fuel sulphur limits.

The EMSA document ‘Sulphur Inspection Guidance’ is aimed at EU port state control (PSC) agencies to ensure a harmonised approach to the enforcement of EU Directive 2016/802. The directive concerns the sulphur content of marine fuels used by vessels in territorial seas, exclusive economic zones and pollution control zones (including MARPOL SOx Emission Control Areas) of the EU Member States.

The guidance addresses several aspects of the port state verification and enforcement processes, including risk-targeting, which documents to check, verifying written changeover procedures and changeover records, sample collection and analysis as well as dealing with non-compliances.

Although this guidance is primarily aimed at EU port state control agencies, it provides useful information for seafarers and prepares them for what to expect when PSC officers board their vessel. Having the required documentation readily available may speed up the process. Of particular importance is to ensure that fuel samples are drawn correctly and are truly representative of the fuel in use. Samples drawn from dead legs or the bottom of filter pots are likely to give a misleading test result.

The guidance document can be read here.