By Emmie V. Abadilla
The Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) and the Department of Energy (DOE) are promoting more sustainable and eco-friendly fuels for Philippine-registered ships to implement the global 0.50% sulphur cap in 2020.
Guided by the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL Convention) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the Marina and DOE discussed the specifications of the global 0.50% sulphur cap with petroleum industry stakeholders, oil importers, and shipping industry partners.
The state agencies are also threshing out concerns to prepare for possible challenges that may emerge due to the new regulation.
Annex VI of the MARPOL Convention, which the Philippines has ratified in 2018, requires all ships in non-emission control area (ECA) zones to set limit on the sulfur content of fuels from 3.50% to 0.50% by January 1, 2020.
To date, the Philippines is a state party to all annexes of the MARPOL Convention.
Marina – Shipyards Regulation Service (SRS) Director Engr. Ramon Hernandez acknowledged stakeholder concerns such as the need for existing Philippine-registered vessels to undergo retrofitting to be able to utilize sustainable and eco-friendly fuels.
The Marina and DOE assured the stakeholders that they will formulate a comprehensive plan for the implementation of the global 0.50% sulphur cap in 2020 by identifying other alternative sources of eco-friendly and affordable fuels, among others.
Next month, the MARINA and DOE will meet with the Department of Finance (DOF), the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to ensure that the Philippines will be able to comply with the Annex VI of the MARPOL Convention.