Particular concern was expressed by INTERTANKO and OCIMF over the switch from HFO to ultra low sulphur content MGO into the auxiliary boilers of oil tankers.
EU Directive 2005/33/EC, also known as the EU Sulphur Directive, includes a provision (article 4b) which requires that as from 1 January 2010, when at berth (and/or at anchor) longer than 2 hours in a EU port, ships utilise 0.1% sulphur content fuel. Compliance with such a provision would require an evaluation on whether current onboard installations, designed and made to run on residual fuels with regular sulphur content, need any adjustments and eventual upgrades. Particular concern was expressed by INTERTANKO and OCIMF over the switch from HFO to ultra low sulphur content MGO into the auxiliary boilers of oil tankers. We have reported earlier this year on the various joint INTERTANKO/OCIMF meetings and discussions with the EU Commission and a large number of EU Member States.
It had become apparent for regulators that there is a need for a safety evaluation to be preformed across the industry. Therefore, EMSA called this meeting inviting ship owners, class and engine and boiler manufacturers to attend. The meeting considered a report on the Use of distillate fuels by ships at berth (also called AEA report) which identifies a number of areas of concern and implies there is a need for a safety evaluation since ships are to be required to use such a fuel.
INTERTANKO and OCIMF made a joint intervention to recommend that manufacturers perform risk assessments and provide safe solutions, as and if appropriate. Experience so far indicates that such evaluations and upgrades take quite some time. INTERTANKO and OCIMF asked for a phase-in period up to 1 January 2011 so enough number of tankers and their onboard installations could be safely evaluated and eventually modified.
The boiler manufacturers (Aalborg) and Class (IACS) presentations indicated that there is a need for such evaluations and that the process would take time beyond the deadline of 1 January 2010. It also pointed out that there is no standard to define and thus to check the required "marine fuel with a maximum 0.1% sulphur content". Concerns with regard to too low viscosity and to lack of lubricity were also added.
The EMSA meeting was of a technical nature. The EMSA and DG TREN representatives will prepare a report to the EU Commission, noting the facts as presented and the discussions during this meeting. It will be up to the Commission to assess and eventually suggest any follow-up action.