A shipmanager, a shipowner, a fuel reseller and a fuel verification expert made the perfect panel for Monday’s special IMO 2020 workshop, a bolt-on event ahead of the Maritime CEO Forum held at the Fullerton Hotel in Singapore. The workshop, sponsored by Cockett Marine Oil, was designed to inform owners and operators exactly what they need to have in place across their fleet and ashore by the end of this month in order to be on track with complying with the global sulphur cap, which kicks in just 264 days’ time.
Decision making on how to handle the cap – essentially to scrub or not to scrub – should have been made many months ago. The workshop focused on the 90% majority who have opted to go down the compliant fuel route to meet sulphur cap requirments.
By now owners need to have made plans with charterers for where their ships will be when it comes to the fuel switchover around October time this year. Cleaning and modification of tanks and pipes should already be underway, according to a guide from Wilhelmsen Ship Management. Carl Schou, CEO of the shipmanager, told delegates that it was essential to get ship implementation plans fixed this month, with the IMO a useful resource to do this. He also warned that any retrofitting could take months and will need class approval so yard slots need to have been booked by now, especially as repair yards are busier than ever this year.
Cem Saral, CEO of Cockett Marine Oil, told delegates that they would need to be aware of the huge variance in quality of 0.5% fuel, and they would need to be aware that their fuel and lubes procurement was about to become massively more complex. Main engine damage is a real fear for Saral.
“Getting compliant fuel is the easy part. Working out how they work on ships is the problem,” Saral said. The lack of information provided about the key characteristics of these new fuels is proving frustrating for owners, Saral said.
Providing some solace on this issue was Rahul Choudhuri, managing director of fuel checkers, Veritas Petroleum Services (VPS). What he had seen of 0.5% fuels so far, Choudhuri said, is that “they are pretty good fuels”. Larger shipping companies have been working test blends since Q4 last year, even onboard. The fuels, which will need to be heated and are likely to be high in cat fines, are stable, from what VPS has checked so far, containing good energy content.
“Owners will really need to get to know these fuels,” Choudhuri said, pointing out that some of them have very low flashpoints.
Like Schou, Choudhuri urged owners to get their ship implementation plans completed by the end of this month, also praising Intertanko for the excellent guidance it has been providing on the subject.
Alan Hatton, CEO of Foreguard Shipping, a Singapore-based owner with a seven-strong chemical tanker fleet, said the role of third party shipmanagers was increasingly important in order to comply with shipping’s increasing number of regulations, including the sulphur cap. Charter parties need to be amended by now too, Hatton pointed out.
On lubes procurement, Caroline Huot, Cockett’s general manager, said the switch from BN70 to BN40 lubes was going to be difficult as so little testing of this new lube has been done.
“Lubes analysis will become way more critical than it is today,” Huot said. It will be vital owners get multiple lube suppliers in place because of the logistics risk with Huot predicting availability issues will persist for 18 months after January 1.
Looking beyond this month, in order to achieve compliance bunker changeover procedures will need to explained to crew from July with a switchover plan finalised by August. Onboard bunkers need to be switched to compliant fuel in September and October with sea trials with the compliant fuel undertaken in November. Any fuel containing 0.5% sulphur and above must be consumed by December 31.
A full report of all the panels and discussion from the Maritime CEO Forum will be carried in the next issue of Maritime CEO magazine.
Maritime CEO Forum Singapore was sponsored by AVS Global Ship Supply, Cobham, Cockett Marine Oil, Dualog, Inmarsat, Liberian Registry, Lloyd’s Register, Marlink, ShipServ, Veritas Petroleum Services and Wilhelmsen Ship Management. The next Maritime CEO Forum will be held at the Monaco Yacht Club on October 22.