The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has moved a step closer to banning the carriage of high-sulphur fuels. The ban, if approved, would make it much easier to enforce the new sulphur standard for marine fuels from 2020.
Moves to close a loophole in enforcement of the cap on high-sulphur marine fuel, which comes into effect in January 2020, have been welcomed by the Clean Shipping Coalition (CSC). Ships will be banned at that time from burning any marine fuel with a sulphur content above 0.5%, but the ban does not prevent ships from carrying fuel exceeding the 0.5% limit. This opens up the possibility of massive avoidance by unscrupulous operators when operating out of sight on the high seas.
Leading shipping industry and environmental organisations have added their support to the growing calls for a ban on carrying shipping fuel that does not meet new sulphur content regulations. The signatories, which include T&E, say making it an offence to carry non-compliant high-sulphur shipping fuel would be the easiest and most effective way to enforce the ban on such fuel being burned at sea.
Leading environmental organisations and the global shipping industry have joined in calling for an explicit prohibition on the carriage of non-compliant marine fuels when the global 0.5% sulphur cap takes effect in 2020.
Today’s call by MEPs to ban the use of heavy fuel oil (HFO) in the Arctic and put in place greenhouse gas reduction measures by 2023 must be followed through with speedy action by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), said sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E). Both Arctic HFO and climate action will be discussed by the IMO environment committee in April 2018, and today’s vote by the European Parliament environment committee also demanded action at EU level if the IMO fails to act on either issue. 
The EU and China have reacted to US president Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Paris climate accord by agreeing to cooperate to ensure aviation and shipping play their part in tackling climate change. T&E has welcomed the agreement, but fears the US withdrawal will slow down progress in shipping. Such a worrying sentiment was felt within the shipping industry, too.
MEPs have called on the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to ban the highly polluting marine fuel ‘heavy fuel oil’ – sometimes referred to as ‘residual fuel’ – from use in Arctic waters. The full European Parliament wants the IMO’s environment committee to discuss outlawing the use of HFO in the Arctic when it meets in July.
· MEPs also back tightening cap on aviation emissions.Support from ports and cargo owners for last week’s vote by MEPs to include shipping emissions in the EU emissions trading system (ETS) has been sharply criticised by shipowners. The European Community Shipowners' Associations (ECSA) said it ‘deplores’ the shipping industry’s backing for Europe regulating ship CO2 as a ‘first move’ to kick start action at global level. Shipping in Europe has CO2 emissions equal those of the Netherlands.