MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) encourages domestic ship owners and operators to start crafting their transition plan to comply with the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) new Global Sulfur Cap for all vessels. This comes as the regulation enters into force on 01 January 2020.

Annex VI of the MARPOL Convention, which the Philippines ratified in 2018, requires all ships to limit the sulfur content of their fuels from 3.50% to 0.50%.

Per the MARINA’s draft roadmap for the implementation of the 2020 Global Sulfur Cap, all Philippine-flagged ships operating in the domestic waters are covered by the aforementioned IMO regulation.

All domestic ship owners and operators are encouraged to start seeking more environmentally friendly sources of fuel or technologies that will lessen their ships’ hazardous emissions.

On the other hand, the MARINA urges all Philippine-registered ships operating overseas to be compliant with 2020 Global Sulfur Cap by next year.

There are still ongoing meetings and consultations between the MARINA, the Department of Energy (DOE), ship owners and operators, oil suppliers, and other concerned government bodies and industry stakeholders. Concerns initially raised by ship owners and operators were cost implications and issues on the availability of LSFO or compliant fuel supplies in the country which is now being studied by the MARINA.

Currently, the agency is conducting a survey among domestic shipping companies to determine the current fuel demand. By taking this step, the MARINA in coordination with the DOE will be able to establish a definite and comprehensive plan to ensure that the 2020 Global Sulfur Cap is well implemented in the Philippines. The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), as the port state control implementer, monitors the compliance of foreign-flagged ships calling Philippine ports with all the international regulations and conventions that the country is party to.

Meanwhile, the MARINA endeavors to develop a long-term solution to maritime pollution with further consultations and collaboration with the DOE, Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).