News 23 Dec, 2009

EU Sulphur Directive - Developments

Further to the Club’s recent news articles on the EU Sulphur Directive and the Intertanko/OCIMF Guidance, the European Commission has prepared a list of Frequently Asked Questions addressing this issue. Particular reference is made to the following:

Q. If a ship has made arrangements to install the necessary modifications to its boilers before it is able to switchover fuel safely but the modifications are not yet implemented, is it allowed to continue using HFO at berth exceeding 0.1% sulphur in the meantime?

A: No, the Directive has no exemptions. However, the Commission intends to publish a Recommendation which will be aimed at the Member States and will invite them while enforcing the Directive, to request those ships which fail to comply with the Directive to provide detailed evidence of steps taken for arrangements to install the necessary modifications, including the approval by a Recognized Organization or Class. The Member States may consider the existence of an approved retrofit plan when assessing the degree of penalties to be applied to non-complying ships.

The European Commission adopted such a Recommendation on 21 December 2009 but the text has not yet been published. Further information will be circulated when known. However, it appears that there may now be a transitional period during which non-compliant vessels may be treated more sympathetically than others if detailed evidence can be produced showing that all necessary modifications are in hand and that retrofit plans have been agreed with manufacturers and approved by Class.

Members who may be affected are also advised to maintain comprehensive written records of their actions including the findings of risk assessment or hazard identification exercises carried out beforehand and all communications with manufacturers, suppliers and Class.