IMO Sulphur Limits

Here at JORI International Ltd., we aim to educate you on the latest changes in the shipping industry.

Starting January 1, 2020, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) introduced a new regulation limiting the amount of sulphur in fuel oil used on board ships outside designated emission control areas to 0.50% from 3.5%. This change will not only affect large ships, but ALL sizes of ships will need to follow this 0.50% limit. Sulphur regulations are even stricter within the emission control areas, where ships are limited to 0.10% oil sulphur content.

Since 2005, IMO has progressively tightened the use of sulphur oxides with the goal to improve air quality and protect the environment. Five beneficial changes from IMO’s sulphur limits include:

1. Cleaner Air – 77% drop in overall sulphur oxide (SOx) emissions from ships will result in an annual reduction of approximately 8.5 million metric tonnes of Sox

2. Positive Impacts on Human Health – premature deaths, cardiovascular, respiratory and pulmonary diseases will be reduced

3. Higher Quality Fuels – the majority of ships will switch to higher quality, low sulphur fuel oil to meet the limit

4. Ship Operators, Owners, & Refineries have Adapted – guidance issued by IMO and other stakeholders to enhance preparedness ahead of the entry into force of Sulphur 2020

5. Change for Enforcement Authorities – flag and port State control will be making sure ships are compliant

Source: International Maritime Organization

In order to meet the regulations introduced by IMO, ships are encouraged to use fuel oil that have low enough sulphur content to meet the requirements. Alternatively, some install “scrubbers” or exhaust gas cleaning systems which limits the air pollutants emitted by their ships. All types of scrubbers are allowed as long as they achieve the same level of emission reductions.

For any questions or concerns, please contact your JORI Representative.

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