IMO 2020 - Global Shipping Sulphur Changes


The International Maritime Organisation (I.M.O.) will implement new legislation for a 0.50% sulphur cap for global marine fuels on 1 January 2020. From this point on, ships will have to use marine fuels with a sulphur content less than or equal to 0.50%, with the current limit being 3.50%. Emission Control Areas (E.C.A.s) are exemptions to this legislation - where a Sulphur cap of 0.1% applies instead. It is the engineers’ & captains’ responsibility to ensure fuel taken on board meets these limits and other fuels are not mixed with E.C.A. compliant fuels. 

Sulphur & Potential Fuel Quality Issues from IMO 2020

There are various issues concerning Sulphur reduction in fuels:

  • Sulphur inhibits microbial growth in fuel. The less Sulphur present, the more likely growth to be seen in coming years. This leads to filter blockages (leading to fuel starvation & engine shutdown), fuel pump failure, tank & line corrosion. A biocide, such as Kathon™ FP 1.5 will alleviate this issue.
  • Reduced fuel stability leading to further tank sludge and fuel discolouration (long chain hydrocarbons / asphaltenes). 
  • Vastly reduced lubricity leading to possibly pump system failure & other issues. Processing to remove Sulphur removes other components with natural lubricity.
  • Combustion efficiency. A reduction in economy.
  • Octamar™ LI-5 Plus will alleviate the fuel stability, lubricity & economy issues assocaited with these changes

For more information please get in touch with Fuelcare.