Seas and Oceans: Sulphur

Department for Transport written question – answered at on 31 October 2018.

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Photo of Nusrat Ghani Nusrat Ghani Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport), Assistant Whip (HM Treasury)

The UK is a strong supporter of taking global action to reduce pollutant emissions from shipping and has played a leading role at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to drive global regulation in this area.

There will be a new global 0.5 per cent sulphur cap on marine fuels coming into force in 2020, which was reviewed and approved by the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) in October 2016. The UK is actively involved with other States and industry at the IMO, to ensure the transition to the global cap for ships and fuel suppliers is as smooth as possible. This work has been progressing well, and further headway was made at the seventy third session of MEPC which met this October. The meeting considered a range of measures to support implementation including ‘ship operator implementation plans’ with further work planned at an IMO sub-committee in February 2019 to address cases of non-compliant fuel. MEPC also confirmed in October that the carriage of non-compliant fuel oil (as well as its use) should also be banned, unless the ship uses an exhaust gas cleaning system.

Additionally, the UK has been active within the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in supporting the development of guidance for shipowners. The existing standard for marine fuels (ISO 8217:2017) will continue to apply, but additional guidance will be available for companies ordering and handling these fuels from mid-2019.

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