Ships Violating IMO 2020 Face Serious Fines, Detention as Port Regimes Plan Rigorous Enforcement


Major port state regimes including Paris MoU, Tokyo MoU and the United States Coast Guard (USCG), plan to rigorously enforce the IMO’s Sulphur 2020 from March 1st, 2020.

As such, ship owners and operators could face detention of ships should they continue to carry fuel that contains a sulphur content higher than 0.5 percent unless the ship has an exhaust gas cleaning system.

“The International Chamber of Shipping reminds shipowners and operators of the impending ban and reiterates the fact that any ships found to be non-compliant face the prospect of detention,” the ICS said.

The chamber said that enforcement agencies will no longer have to prove usage, and that showing that vessels without scrubbers have non complient fuel aboard will be enough to prove a violation.

 “Since the introduction of IMO 2020 January 1st, ships have been given a ‘grace period’ while the industry transitions to low-sulphur fuel. As of March 1st, this will no longer be the case. Any ship found in non-compliance faces the prospect of serious fines and even detention,” Guy Platten, Secretary-General ICS said.

 “The International Chamber of Shipping has been made aware that major port state inspection regimes including the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) have made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that detention of ships found to be non-compliant is both possible and legally permissible.

The ICS said that based on the information provided by shipowners, the latter said they were fully compliant and ready for March 1st.

To remind, the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 73) adopted the MARPOL amendment to prohibit the carriage of non-compliant fuel oil on board ships in October 2018.

The ban relates to fuels intended for combustion purposes, propulsion or operation on board a ship.

Since the entrance into force of the IMO sulphur cap, the shipping industry has reported a relatively smooth transition to compliant fuels, despite major concerns over the availability of compliant fuels and potential issues with regard to the quality of new blends.

However, it is yet pretty early to draw any conclusive analysis as the transition is yet in its early days.