The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted a complementary amendment to support consistent implementation of its upcoming 0.50% limit on sulphur in ship fuel oil.

To be executed under IMO’s MARPOL treaty, the regulation on 0.50% sulphur fuel limit is expected to come into force on 1 January 2020.

The regulation mandates ships across the globe to use fuels with 0.50% sulphur content, compared to the current 3.50%.

IMO’s newly adopted amendment aims to ban the carriage of non-compliant fuel oil for combustion purposes for propulsion or operation on-board a ship unless it has an exhaust gas cleaning system or scrubber.

The amendment is scheduled to be effective from 1 March 2020.

In a statement, IMO said: “The amendment does not change in any way the entry into force date of the 0.50% limit from 1 January 2020.

“It is intended as an additional measure to support consistent implementation and compliance and provide a means for effective enforcement by states, particularly port state control.”

“It is intended as an additional measure to support consistent implementation and compliance and provide a means for effective enforcement by states.”

IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) has also approved guidance for the ship operators and owners to prepare themselves for the 0.50% sulphur 2020 limit.

The guidance covers a number of sections, including risk assessment and mitigation plan on new fuels, fuel oil system modifications and tank cleaning, fuel oil capacity and segregation capability. It also includes procurement of compliant fuel, fuel oil changeover plan, as well as documentation and reporting.

The MEPC approved guidance on best practice to be followed by fuel oil suppliers.

According to a study on the human health impacts of sulphur oxides (SOx) emissions from ships, if no measures are taken to bring down the level of SOx emission from 2020, the air pollution from the sector is estimated to contribute to over 570,000 additional premature deaths worldwide between 2020-2025.