The Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) said the implementation of regulations on capping sulfur content in marine fuel would force shipowners to retire their old vessels faster than before.
Engr. Ramon Hernandez of the Shipyards Regulation Service (SRS) said they were developing a policy on ship retirement to phase out old vessels in the domestic shipping fleet. One of the regulations is to implement the new International Maritime Organization (IMO) standards on sulfur emission limits.
‘We will require this IMO sulfur cap 2020 not only for Philippine overseas vessels, but also for domestic ships. We would start implementing this on old ships, those 40 years and older vessels. Most of the 40 -year-old vessels need retrofitting. To be compliant with marine fuel, it would be very costly for the shipping companies, so they might as well replace these old vessels with new vessels,” he said.
To reduce sulfur oxide (SOx) emissions from ships, the IMO directed the amount of sulfur in maritime fuel oil to be reduced to 0.50 percent m/m from 3.5 percent m/m.
The IMO International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (Marpol Convention Annex VI) directive has been enforced at the start of the year. The Marpol Convention has been ratified by over 90 countries including China, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
Hernandez said they were also studying the marine environmental protection standards set by the IMO to be implemented to the domestic ships.
“Complying with international standards is very expensive, but with the help of other government agencies were looking for ways to save the environment and enhance maritime safety in the Philippines,” he added.
Marina has been working with the Department of Science and Technology (DoST), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in looking for solutions.
“We’re coming up with low -cost ways of complying with this standard,” he added.
Hernandez said in the coming months, expect a draft ship retirement program that would be crafted along with the domestic shipping service.
The ship retirement program would incorporate the implementation of new maritime safety and environmental protection standards. They were hoping that this policy on ship retirement would be enforced by next year.
Marina Administrator Robert A. Empedrad said they we’re doing the phase-in implementation of new passenger boats in replacement of the wooden bancas and passenger vessel.
Maritime stakeholders have wanted to eliminate wooden-hulled passenger vessels and replace them with double-hulled ships to ensure the safety and security of passengers and cargos.