First IMO 2020 breaches detected in China

Qingdao port. Credit: Qingdao port

The Chinese authorities have caught two vessels in Chinese waters for using non-compliant fuel, the first reported cases of breaches of IMO 2020.

According to a notice issued by The Standard Club, the first ship was under a port state control inspection in Qingdao port when the Chinese Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) verified the use of fuel oil with a sulphur content of 0.6777%.

The second ship was berthed in Xiamen port when the MSA found it to be using non-compliant fuel. The ship had been at berth for nearly six days after changing over to compliant fuel.

The Standard Club said, “However, it’s likely that previous high-sulphur fuel residue remained in the engine fuel system resulting in emissions over the China ECA [emission control area] limit. The ship was ordered to take effective measures to purify the fuel system.”

It is not clear whether the MSA will fine the ships as a result of the infractions. According to the Chinese implementation plan of IMO 2020, the MSA will handle violations in accordance with China’s Air Pollution Prevention and Control Law. Article 106 of this law provides that ships can be fined no less than CNY10,000 (USD1,445) but no more than CNY100,000.

The Standard Club reminded its members to adhere to the 2020 global sulphur limit in Chinese waters and should refer to the club’s previous update on these regulations.