Australia's AMSA detains bulk carrier on violation to IMO's HSFO carriage ban
8th May 2020 07:49 GMT

 Another instance of violation of the International Maritime Organization's HSFO carriage ban has occurred after the Australian Maritime Safety Authority detained a dry bulk carrier late last week, but overall compliance remains fairly good, despite tough market conditions, industry sources in Asia-Pacific said.

"The African Heron was found to have fuel oil on board with sulfur content above 0.5%," a spokesman at AMSA told S&P Global Platts on Wednesday.

The African Heron is listed on MUR Shipping's website as part of its fleet. MUR Shipping was not immediately available for comment when contacted.

"The non-compliant fuel oil on board had sulfur content of 1.38%," the AMSA spokesman said.

The ship was detained in Geelong on May 1, and was released from detention on May 3 after the non-compliant fuel was discharged ashore and the fuel system was cleaned, he added.

"This is not permitted under the MARPOL regulations that came into effect on March 1, 2020," he said.

Under IMO's HSFO carriage ban, high sulfur fuel oil cannot be carried in the fuel tanks unless the vessel is fitted with an appropriate abatement technology such as an exhaust gas cleaning system, also known as scrubbers.

The African Heron incident comes after the Federal Transport Authority in the UAE issued a circular in March noting that the Mediterranean Shipping Company's ship, the MSC Joanna, had violated the carriage ban. As a result, the FTA had said then that it banned the ship from operating in UAE waters and ports for a duration of one year.

MSC had said in a statement then that the MSC Joanna was one of those ships which had been subject to a delay in fitting an exhaust gas cleaning system and had been carrying traditional marine fuel in a sealed tank to be ready for testing, while waiting to find out when the installation would take place.



Compliance stays positive


Industry sources said that compliance to the carriage ban remained fairly good, despite difficult market conditions and shipping restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Singapore delivered Marine Fuel 0.5%S-HSFO spread has narrowed from $353/mt at the start of the year to $99.25/mt on May 6, Platts data showed.

"Some owners carry fuel that is more than 0.5% sulfur, and switch to marine gasoil, two to three days before entering the port. But now that the spread is so narrow, there is no need to do it," a Shanghai-based shipowner said.

"In general, the [shipping] industry has been preparing for compliance to the carriage ban as early as the second half of last year," a bunker trader based in Sydney said.

"This violation is probably the first that I’ve heard in Australia since the carriage ban kicked in," he said.

Since the IMO 2020 mandate, there has been only one inquiry a month or none at all for high sulfur bunker fuel in Australia, the bunker trader said, adding that after the IMO's global low sulfur mandate started on January 1, low sulfur fuel oil has become the chief marine fuel of choice worldwide.

In Australia, spot HSFO demand is around 1,000-2,000 mt a month, while LSFO demand is around 20,000-25,000 mt and marine gasoil is around 20,000 mt per month, industry sources estimated.

"It’s unlikely that vessels will not comply as we received sulfur guidelines [from our agent] before entering the port. There is a penalty if we don’t adhere and the vessel could get delayed," a second Shanghai-based shipowner said.

Bunkerworld .,
8th May 2020 07:49 GMT