Indonesia to enforce IMO 2020 rule on all shipping after initial pushback plans

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Indonesia will fulfill its MARPOL Annex VI obligations to enforce the 0.5% sulfur cap regulations from January 1 2020, Sudiono, the director of shipping and maritime affairs at Indonesia’s transport ministry, told S&P Global Platts, dismissing earlier plans, suggesting only a partial implementation of the rule.

The country is fully committed to enforcing the International Maritime Organization’s 2020 rule on all Indonesian-flagged vessels both for domestic and foreign shipping, he said Wednesday.

This comes after the government had said some weeks ago that it would follow IMO’s 0.5% sulfur rules for international shipping, but it will continue to allow domestic shipping to burn 3.5% sulfur fuels citing national interests and a large volume of domestic high sulfur fuel oil.

The earlier decision had created an uproar among many industry participants including the Trident Alliance, a coalition of shipowners and operators working to promote the enforcement of maritime sulfur regulations, which said that Indonesia’s move to backtrack on the IMO 2020 rule for its domestic shipping would create an unfair distortion to the competitive landscape and will likely expose the country to legal consequences.

“States, such as Indonesia, that are party to IMO’s MARPOL Annex VI do not have the facility to exempt merchant vessels from compliance. Additionally, states party to Annex 6 can be held liable for non-enforcement by the other states that are party to it,” the Alliance had said on July 31.

Meanwhile, INTERTANKO, a membership association for owners of independent tankers throughout the world, said in a statement that Indonesian Directorate General of Sea Transportation has confirmed to it, they will issue a new circular detailing their plans to implement the sulfur cap regulation.

LSFO AVAILABILITY

Indonesia’s earlier move might have been prompted by the government’s need to ensure that national shipping and Pertamina’s capacity to supply low sulfur fuel have enough time to adjust, and national interest needs to be urgently prioritized before the January 1, 2020, industry sources said.

But, there is more clarity now, some said.

State oil company Pertamina will also produce fuels with sulfur content of a maximum 0.5% and up to 380,000 kiloliters/year of 180 CST 0.5%, Platts had reported previously.

In terms of availability, marine fuel oil that is 0.5% sulfur-compliant, with a viscosity of 160cst, is available at the Ports of Balikpapan and Tanjung Priok, while 0.5% sulfur-compliant diesel fuel is available at all Indonesian ports.

DGST has highlighted that Indonesia’s regulation requires the diesel fuel to comply with their “B20” requirements i.e. 20% to comprise of bio-diesel (from palm oil) and 80% from petroleum diesel, INTERTANKO added.

The transportation ministry will issue a letter regarding the decision–to implement a maximum sulfur content of 0.5% for all of Indonesian flag ships–and the energy and mines ministry will guarantee the low sulfur fuel in Indonesia, Sudiono said.

SCRUBBERS DILEMMA

Meanwhile, Indonesia is yet to decide on whether it will ban wash water discharge from exhaust gas cleaning systems, or scrubbers, INTERTANKO said.

DGST confirmed that some 15 Indonesian ports will have reception facilities able to accept wastes from scrubbers, INTERTANKO said.

Some countries including Singapore, the world’s largest bunkering port, have already announced plans to ban the wash water discharge from open loop scrubbers in their port waters.

Some industry sources argue that open loop scrubbers do not address environmental issues as they simply take sulfur out of the air and put it into the ocean.

Others argue that viewpoint is an oversimplification that ignores the fact the IMO has set out guidelines for cleaning systems that include wash water discharge and monitoring criteria to safeguard against environmental damage.

Source: Platts

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