Slideshow: Global Sulphur Cap update: preparations in full swing
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Slideshow: Global Sulphur Cap update: preparations in full swing

With the Global Sulphur Cap implementation date only days away, ship owners are busy taking the final steps to ensure compliance. An overview.

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Compliance fuel options - DNV GL
Used fuel tank volumes - DNV GL
Tank cleaning is a major challenge - DNV GL

The online application Ship Implementation Plan (SIP) launched by DNV GL on its portal Veracity has been helping shipowners prepare their ships for compliance with the 0.5 per cent sulphur limit to take effect on 1 January 2020. Used extensively by the industry, the tool not only provides user-friendly plan preparation and fleet overview, but also captures some statistical data, which are shared in the following slides.

Each option has its pros and cons: LNG is the cleanest option with the highest CAPEX, while HSFO is the least costly fuel but requires the installation of scrubbers, which can be technically complex, time-consuming and costly. Whether putting scrubbers on newbuilds makes sense, and whether VLSFO will beat distillates, remains to be seen.

The most dramatic change will occur in the HSFO domain: Only ships with exhaust gas cleaning systems (scrubbers) will be allowed to continue running on high-sulphur fuel. Most of the remaining tank volume will be switched to very low-sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO), and relatively few ships will adopt MGO/MDO or ultra-low sulphur fuel oil (ULSFO) instead.

Nearly half of SIP users have indicated that cleaning their fuel tanks for future use of cleaner fuel is their major challenge in getting ready for 2020. Only 5% have this done in dry dock, while the rest do it during service, either manually (25%) or using chemicals (50%). About 20% of tanks will be flushed with compliant fuel.

Different fuels require different lubrication oils, and this aspect should not be neglected. Moving to low-sulphur fuels means switching to a lube oil with a lower base number (BN). Statistics indicate the industry is primarily moving from BN 70–100 to BN 40.

The question whether enough low-sulphur fuel of all types will be available at all major ports is causing some anxiety among ship operators. Demand for compliant fuels appears highest in Western Europe / Baltics and South East Asia. Recommendation: As soon as it becomes evident that compliant fuel will not be available for the next voyage, it is important to notify the next port of call and the flag administration directly (and not class) without any delay about the situation and circumstances by submitting a FONAR. The FONAR shall provide the necessary evidence and justification for bunkering non-compliant fuel.

Slideshow: Global Sulphur Cap update: preparations in full swing

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