IBIA Welcomes MEPC Bunker Compromise
The compromise solution on the issue of ensuring bunker quality agreed at the 67th meeting of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 67) has been welcomed by the International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA).
Submissions by IBIA addressing sulphur compliance issues and quality control had called for a series of practical measures including a licensing scheme and for the Bunker Delivery Note (BDN) to be a more useful document containing information on the specification of fuel ordered. Although these proposals were not implemented, MEPC 67 agreed to establish a correspondence group to develop draft guidance for assuring the quality of fuel oil delivered for use on board ships, and to consider the adequacy of the current legal framework in MARPOL Annvx VI for assuring the quality of bunkers.
IBIA chief executive Peter Hall said, “This has been a step forward by IMO. Previous MEPC meetings would not entertain a correspondence group, but taken together with a commitment to improve MARPOL regulations, we believe that the measures will improve the situation."
He added, "The ultimate safety risk to vessels using fuel 'not fit for purpose' is simply unacceptable in this modern day. Any improvements that can be made to the fuel supply chain are welcomed, and it is ultimately down to bunker suppliers to provide compliant fuels. However, buyers have a responsibility to specify the quality they require and be willing to pay for it. We believe that the authorities must provide sanctions on continuously underperforming suppliers. Without this, the current disquiet in the industry will continue.”