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Container Shipping & Trade

Container Shipping & Trade

Maersk concerns: unscrupulous operators might not comply with 2020

Mon 04 Dec 2017 by Rebecca Moore

Maersk concerns: unscrupulous operators might not comply with 2020

Maersk Group is campaigning for strict enforcement of the 2020 global sulphur cap due to concerns that some “unscrupulous” ship operators will not comply, Maersk chairman of China and chief representative of Maersk Group north Asia Tim Smith told Container Shipping & Trade in an exclusive interview.

Maersk intends to meet this by burning low sulphur fuel but is concerned about how the regulation will be enforced.

Mr Smith told Container Shipping & Trade “While it is the right thing to do, we are very concerned to make sure that it is fairly enforced. Because the cost of low sulphur fuel is so high, there is a big potential advantage for an unscrupulous operator not to comply with this.”

I believe that Mr Smith raises a very valid concern: how will this regulation be enforced? Compliance could cost billions of dollars, which could lead to some unscrupulous operators to try to cheat the system.

After all, as Mr Smith points out, if a ship is in the middle of the ocean, who is going to check if it is burning clean fuel?

Therefore, the company wants to make sure there are clear rules and is advocating a directive stating that operators should only have heavy fuel oil on board if they also have equipment such as a scrubber to burn fuel cleanly. 

Maersk is speaking to IMO about the regulation’s enforcement, he said, and it wants to see “a strong reaction” about enforcement.

A lot of effort has gone into creating this directive, therefore as much effort needs to go into enforcing it. If insufficient effort is put into enforcing it, then it is conceivable that some operators could get away with not complying. I believe that one of the reasons for this is that while some parts of the world will actively enforce this regulation, it is likely that other areas could be less active.

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