The Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO) recently published two new clauses for time charterparties to reduce sulphur emissions. The clauses regulate the effects of Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) which stipulates that, from 1 January 2020, vessels will be able to consume only fuel with a sulphur content less than or equal to 0.5% by mass. The new limit does not change the emission limits of 0.1% in controlled emission areas (the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and specific areas on the coasts of Canada, the United States and the Caribbean), which were established by the International Maritime Organisation in 2015.
The first clause (BIMCO 2020 Marine Fuel Sulphur Content Clause for Time Charterparties) stipulates that charterers are required to provide fuel that meets MARPOL’s requirements and the ship specifications set forth in the contract. It also states that bunker suppliers and barge operators employed by the ship must meet MARPOL’s requirements, and that the charterer remains responsible for the management of the fuel.
As preparing ships to comply with these new sulphur regulations requires time and planning, an additional clause establishes the transition rules that the contracting parties must observe (BIMCO 2020 Fuel Transition Clause for Time Charterparties). This provision states that the parties must cooperate to minimise the amount of non-conforming fuel on board ships until 31 December 2019. It also establishes that, as of 1 January 2020, any non-conforming fuel on board must be removed by the time the ship is returned or by 1 March 2020, whichever comes first.
Given the necessary diligence and measures required for adapting vessels to the new requirements, owners and charterers will have to cooperate. The charterer will be responsible for the costs of removing the non-conforming fuel, while the cost of cleaning the fuel tanks will lie with the shipowner, who must also ensure that the ship is fit to receive the compliant fuel.
Published in ILO – International Transport & Shipping Newsletter