Nikolas Tsakos, President and CEO of Tsakos Energy Navigation (TEN), warned about the poor quality of bunkers being produced ahead of the 2020 sulphur cap.
“I think what the industry is trying right now is for a transition period to allow for the right type of bunkers to be available,” he said in a conference call on TEN’s Q2 results.
As explained, the producers are now experimenting with new blends and there should be at least a two-year transition period to allow for safe and proven solutions to be available and avoid potential risks to ships.
“With 2020 ahead of us, where the majority of the fuels appear to be blended fuels, and without having standards for this 2020 fuel, we feel that this thing is only going to get worse,” he added.
As a Chairman of INTERTANKO, Tsakos said he plans to lobby with the IMO for the introduction of a transitional period for the sulphur cap regulations over the upcoming period.
Tsakos believes this is particularly important having in mind the recent developments regarding bunker contamination that resulted in ships reporting incidents on board due to bad bunkers.
“This is something that as bunker buyers we have seen happening every three or five years. So we need to take corrective action to make sure that we don’t take a necessary risk for which we pay,” he said.
“We think the bunker industry is responsible in making sure that they will provide the right fuel which is fit for purpose and we will not have to deal with the difficulties in such a large scale as it was the case with the latest incident.”
TEN’s management is a supporter of 0.5 sulphur fuel as a way of complying with the IMO’s regulations in 2020, however, it has not ruled out the option of scrubbers being installed on some of its ships by their respective charterers. These relate to ships that have been chartered out on long-time contracts and for which the charterers would bear the installation costs.
” I would say two-thirds of our charterers are not looking at scrubbers, one third might install the scrubbers,” according to Tsakos.