SEA/LNG: More Needs to Be Done to Comply with 2020 Sulfur Cap

The industry needs to redouble its commitment to comply with and enforce the IMO Marpol VI Regulations despite prevailing economic challenges, according to SEALNG, the multi-sector industry coalition promoting adoption of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a marine fuel.

In that context, the coalition has called upon the Port State Authorities to play their part to ensure even handed and consistent enforcement of the IMO regulations.

“Now is the time for all IMO members to understand the importance of this regulation and ensure that it is implemented and enforced as envisioned,” the coalition said.

Touching upon the challenging economic environment amid stringent and increasing environmental regulations, shipowners face a complex investment decision matrix of risks when considering how to comply with the global sulfur cap of 0.5% from 2020, the organization further noted. Hence, they must make decisions that remain viable into the future and make choices between a limited number of options; LNG, scrubbers, or low sulfur fuels.

“All parties, especially the Port State Authorities must play their part. Effective and consistent enforcement, across all jurisdictions of the IMO emissions regulations, will be essential to ensure more environmentally friendly shipping and a level playing field for all shipping companies. Flag states and port authorities have a clear and key responsibility in ensuring compliance.

“If we do not collectively commit to compliance and enforcement, then we will continue to miss a tangible and viable opportunity to eradicate harmful emissions such as Sulphur Oxide (SOx), Nitrogen Oxide (NOx), and Particulate Matter (PM). This seems unacceptable given the opportunity we have readily at hand,” SEALNG Chairman Peter Keller commented.

SEALNG added that in addressing the primary concerns of cost and compliance, LNG as a marine fuel provides a means of negating current and potential future local emissions challenges, and is a step in the right direction towards reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from maritime transport.

 “LNG far exceeds alternative options in terms of emissions reductions. It emits zero sulfur oxides (SOx) and virtually zero particulate matter (PM). Compared to existing heavy marine fuel oils, LNG emits 90% less nitrogen oxides (NOx) and through the use of best current practices and appropriate technologies to minimize methane leakage, offers the potential for up to a 25% reduction in GHGs. Advancements in dual fuel technology and propulsion, enhanced control systems, and future use of gas turbine technologies present further opportunity for increased GHG reductions,” Keller added.

As explained, the energy transition is moving in a clear direction, as the vast majority of the world’s top ten bunkering ports offer LNG bunkering or have firm plans to do so by 2020.  By the end of 2017, six LNG bunker vessels will be in operation – expanded from one at the start of the year.

These vessels are described as the key to scaling-up demand for LNG as a marine fuel and delivering fuel in a way that is “normal” for shipowners. Added to which, new bunkering hubs are developing which will leverage existing bulk LNG infrastructure.

Keller concluded that existing barriers and limitations can be overcome by joining forces across the board.

“We do, however, require a greater sense of urgency and commitment.”

SEALNG’s membership, which spans the LNG value chain, stands at 28 organisations.

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