Sulfur cap could cause c/p problems

May 25 2018

In another warning, North P&I said that shipowners will have some very difficult and important decisions to make on how to comply with the 1st January 2020 sulfur cap.

There are several options open to shipowners, with the majority currently opting for distillates, perhaps keeping an eye on the development of cheaper hybrid fuels, blends or compliant residual fuels.

The choice will come down to what is right for the vessel and what is economically viable, the mutual said.

Speaking broadly, there are five options available to a shipowner that allow compliance with the 2020 global sulphur cap - distillates, hybrid blends, scrubbers (EGCS), LNG and other emerging fuels.

There are pros and cons with each, mostly concerning fuel availability, on board fuel management, capex and opex and maintenance requirements. It is not a simple choice and the decision on what method of compliance is best depends on a number of factors, such as vessel type, trading area and indeed its expected remaining life, North said.

The proportion of time spent within emission control areas (ECA) should be considered, as well as the impact of changing over fuels when entering/leaving these areas. The 0.1% sulfur cap currently in operation within ECAs will remain in force and it is possible that new ECAs may emerge in coming years.

In some cases, it would be disadvantageous to limit a vessel to one method of compliance. The best solution might be multi-fuel, such as the ability to burn both LNG and distillates, or perhaps EGCS and hydrogen fuel cells.

The challenges are not all just technical, North warned, as timecharterparties will require particularly close attention but many aspects of all charterparties will also need to be reviewed, with more challenges anticipated for vessels already in long-term charters that span the enforcement date.


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