Continuing to Raise the Bar for Effective Enforcement: IMO’s 2020 Global Sulphur Cap

The International Maritime Organization’s 2020 Global Sulphur Cap Regulation, which is a significant challenge for the shipping industry, came into effect as of 1 January 2020. It limits the sulphur in fuel oil used on board ships operating outside designated emission control areas to O.5O% m/m (mass by mass), from 3.5O% m/m. Monitoring and enforcement of the new limit is the responsibility of Governments and national authorities of member States that are Parties to MARPOL Annex VI. To facilitate capacity building regarding the new regulation, a cooperation agreement between the Danish Maritime Authority (DMA) and the World Maritime University (WMU) aims to bring administrations together in a workshop format to share knowledge on sulphur enforcement in three key regions - Africa, Asia & the Caribbean. The three workshops are supported by the Danish Maritime Fund, with contributions from the Danish Ministry of Environment as well. 

The second workshop out of three, the International P2P MTCC Caribbean Workshop on IMO Global Sulphur Cap 2020, took place during 19-20 January 2021. Due to the pandemic, the workshop was hosted online by MTCC-Caribbean that is headquartered at the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT), and was delivered in cooperation between the WMU and the DMA. 

Welcome remarks and presentations were made by MTCC-Caribbean, UTT, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), WMU and DMA. In her opening remarks, Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, President of WMU, noted that the IMO’s initial GHG strategy has accelerated the momentum of decarbonization efforts in the shipping industry. She stated: “Global cooperation towards mitigation of GHGs as well as air pollutants such as sulphur oxide is a crucial element for this momentum and this workshop is a very good example in advancing implementation.” Dr Doumbia-Henry highlighted WMU’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) and the key role WMU plays in capacity building, education and research in Maritime Energy Management in support of Goal 7 focused on affordable energy for all and Goal 13 focused on urgent action to combat climate change. 

The MTCC-Caribbean workshop provided the opportunity to discuss and share solutions and best practices for effective enforcement. Indicative topics included, among others, the associated legal basis, fuel samples, document checks, targeting mechanisms, remote sensing and use of sniffers, training of inspectors and sanctions.

The role of WMU was to provide an overall view on air pollution resulting from international shipping with a focus on air pollutants as well as conducting case studies along with DMA colleagues. DMA and Sulphur Emission Control Area (SECA) experts presented best practices from the SECA regions. Challenges with regard to compliance and enforcement of the new IMO’s 2020 (Global) Sulphur Cap were highlighted by regional representatives. A strong, practical element of the workshop included the opportunity for participant groups to focus on case studies of particular local relevance.

MTCC Caribbean provided valuable support for the workshop and its online delivery. WMU was represented by Professor Aykut Ölcer and Associate Professor Dimitrios Dalaklis. A total of 73 participants from Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Panama, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago were in attendance. 

The first Global Sulphur Cap workshop was delivered in Myanmar in January of 2020. The final workshop will be hosted by MTCC-Africa in Kenya in Spring of 2021. 

Map of countries (participants and speakers included) for the International P2P MTCC Caribbean Workshop on IMO Global Sulphur Cap 2020.

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