In the first quarter of 2020, about 96% of ships calling at Asia’s largest bunkering hub, according to the Maritime Port Authority of Singapore. This excludes ships fitted with open-loop scrubbers that have to switch to using compliant fuel up arriving in Singapore waters. Singapore law prohibits from discharging scrubber wash water from open-loop scrubbers systems.
Under the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) MARPOL Annex VI Regulation 14.1, the sulphur content of any fuel oil used on board ships operating outside an emission control area cannot exceed 0.50% m/m from 1 January 2020. Likewise, the sulphur content of fuel oil used or carried for use on board a ship shall not exceed 0.50% m/m from 01 March 2020.
During the quarter, the MPA conducted a total of 326 Port State Control and Flag State Control inspections in the Port of Singapore. Among them, the MPA found 12 ships that were not fitted with scrubbers using fuel that marginally exceeded the sulphur limit. The MPA said this was likely due to remnant residues of high-sulphur fuel in the fuel oil tanks and piping.
“It is expected that in time, the fuel oil tanks and piping will be properly flushed with the continual use of compliant fuel. MPA had informed the respective managers and flag administrations of these ships about the non-compliance,” the MPA said.
Two foreign-registered ships were found to be using non-compliant fuel. Each were each issued a PSC detention order, and were only allowed to depart from the Port of Singapore after it was verified that they had switched to using compliant fuel.
The MPA found that no ship installed with an open-loop scrubber was found to be operating its scrubber in the Port of Singapore.
In terms of the Singapore’s own fleet, no Singapore-registered ship was detained by port state authorities for non-compliance with the IMO 2020 regulations. Two ships did reported the non-availability of compliant fuel and submitted the required Fuel Oil Non-Availability Report.
The MPA noted that among the small number of Singapore-registered ships installed with scrubbers, there were 31 reports of scrubber malfunction as at 29 February 2020.
“As a leading maritime nation, Singapore is committed to reducing the environmental impact of shipping,” said Goh Chung Hun, MPA’s Director of Marine. “By engaging the industry proactively, providing the necessary technical guidance and maintaining an adequate supply of compliant fuel in Singapore, we have ensured a high degree of compliance with IMO 2020 sulphur regulations. Singapore will continue to play its part to make shipping clean and sustainable.”