Starting from the 1st March is a ban on the carriage of non-compliant fuel, unless the vessel has a scrubber, as ordered by the IMO (International Maritime Organization). The IMO decision (made in 2019, became law the 1st January) has the aim to reduce the sulphur emissions by over 77% between the 2020 and 2025 in order to improve the atmosphere pollution and our health.

Based on the law, the fuel oil sulphur limit per weights on the carriage will be 0.5%, (the previous was 3.5%). In this way the organization calculates that the emissions percentage caused by the marine sector, currently around the 68%, will decrease.

This common task could give important advantages to our health. The experts confirm that an emission reduction could considerably reduce the number of sick people who suffer of lungs cancer, cardiovascular illnesses, asthma and to reduce the heart attack number. This could mean avoiding 570000 premature deaths.

The IMO provision have nothing to do with the climate change, indeed the law speaks of reduction of sulphur emissions not of carbon dioxide ones, the consequence is that there won’t be direct impact on global warming even if it will reduce the acid rain and the ocean acidification.

The consequences will be economical too. Currently the marine field is the major consumer of fuel in the world with 3.8 million of barrels consumed a day, equal to the 50% of the global demand. With this law the marine world will be obliged to move in the compliant fuel market, which is see-sawing due to different factors: geopolitical events, the OPEC+ decisions and the crude demand. Predictions are sceptical and foresee a fast increase of oil costs with repercussions on the shipping and plane tickets costs.

The last curiosity, in the event that a vessel is found by the authorities using non-compliant fuel, the captain will be charged and could risk imprisonment.

Written by Nicolas Spirito.