IMO: There is no turning back on 2020 sulphur cap

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim

Ensuring consistent implementation of the 0.50% requirement coming into effect on 1 January 2020 is a key item on the agenda of IMO’s Sub-committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR) being held from 5 to 9 February, at IMO headquarters, London. The meeting will also continue to look at how to measure black carbon emissions from shipping.

Speaking at the opening of the fifth session of the Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response Lim stated: “Undoubtedly, the most important item on your agenda this week is the consistent implementation of the 0.50% m/m global limit of the sulphur content of ships’ fuel oil, which will come into effect from 1 January 2020. There is no turning back!”


Good morning, distinguished delegates,

It is a pleasure for me to welcome you to the fifth session of the Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response. I particularly welcome those delegates who may be attending this Sub-Committee for the first time.

Before addressing the work of your Sub-Committee, I would like to express my sorrow upon hearing the tragic sinking of the Kiribati ferry Mv. Butiraoi, carrying more than 80 passengers and crew, which was first reported missing on 26 January 2018. On behalf of the IMO membership, the Secretariat and myself, I would like to send our deepest sympathies to the Government of Kiribati and to the families and loved ones of the victims. I would also like to commend all those involved in the international search and rescue operations.

Distinguished delegates,

Last year was a very successful one and we should be proud of all the great achievements. I wish to highlight, in the context of protection of the marine environment and the atmosphere, the entry into force of the Ballast Water Management Convention in September 2017 and the development of an initial IMO GHG strategy, which we all expect its adoption at MEPC 72 in April this year.

The Organization’s contribution to the global efforts to address climate change features prominently in our Strategic Plan. The mandatory data collection system for fuel oil consumption of ships, entering into force in less than one month time, will provide robust data and information on which future decisions on additional measures, over and above those already adopted, can be made. We have committed to produce a comprehensive strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from ships, beginning with an initial strategy to be adopted at MEPC 72.

The whole world will be watching IMO and looking for something of real substance, an initial strategy that will send an important signal of intent and provide a firm basis for our work towards the revised strategy in 2023. The task will not be easy at times; the stakes are high and the expectations even higher. I urge you to be bold to set ambitious goals that really will make a difference and to use this opportunity to enhance our well established system of collaboration and cooperation. I will do my utmost to open even further our communication channels which are paramount in facing together the challenges that lay ahead for the shipping industry.

This year’s World Maritime Day theme, which is “IMO 70: Our heritage – better shipping for a better future” reflects on the Organization’s celebration of its 70th Anniversary. I encourage you to take part in the events programmed to commemorate this milestone, to embrace the theme and use this occasion to reflect and showcase how the Organization has adapted over the years as a crucial player to the global supply chain, and to be passionate about the IMO family.

In this connection, I wish to pay tribute to the Sub-Committee’s remarkable and impressive achievements during the long period of its existence. Since its creation in 1976 as the Sub-Committee on Bulk Chemicals which was succeeded by the BLG Sub-Committee in 1996 , your dedicated work, through ongoing revision of MARPOL Annexes I and II, the International Bulk Chemical Code and the International Gas Carrier Code and the development of new regulatory measures, has resulted in highly restrictive limits for operational discharge of oil and chemical tanker washings, the ban of carriage and use of heavy grade oil in the Antarctic area, and a new four-category system for categorizing noxious and liquid substances, etc.

As a dedicated technical sub-committee on environment matters, the PPR Sub-Committee, which succeeded the BLG Sub-Committee in 2013, has been covering a remarkably broad canvas, embracing everything from the quality of our atmosphere to the invasive species that can be transported around the world in ships’ ballast water. The revision of MARPOL Annex VI, with a progressive reduction in SOx and NOx emissions from ships, and the development of comprehensive guidelines on the management of ballast water and biofouling, is exemplary in illustrating the commitment of the Organization to be in the frontline of achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals which are a wide-ranging response to the challenges facing the world today.



Comments are closed.