MARPOL Annex VI: Prevention of air pollution from bunkers- update


Published: 18 August 2005

In our Circular of 25 May 2005 (also updated 2 June 2005), we referred to the difficulty which members may face when they are unable to obtain a proper sample or a bunker delivery note from a supplier located in a state not party to MARPOL Annex VI. In particular we pointed out that it was not clear what attitude would be adopted by port state controllers in a state where Annex VI is in force

In our earlier circular, we included a link to draft Guidelines for Port State Control which were to be considered by the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) at its July meeting.

The MEPC made some amendments to the draft in the light of submissions made on behalf of shipowners (in particular by Intertanko) before adopting the final version of the Guidelines on 29 July 2005.  Members are referred in particular to paragraph 2.1.5 of the Guidelines which states as follows:

“2.1.5 In the case where the  bunker delivery note or the representative sample as required by regulation 18 of this Annex presented to the ship are not in compliance with the relevant requirements, the master or officer in charge of the bunker operation should have documented through a Notification to the ship’s Flag Administration with copies to the port authority under whose jurisdiction the ship did not receive the required documentation prior to the bunker operation and to the bunker deliverer.  A copy should be retained on board the ship, together with any available commercial documentation, for the subsequent scrutiny of port State Control.”

Accordingly members who are unable to obtain a sample and bunker delivery note which meet with the requirements of Annex VI, are advised to give notice to the flag state, port authority and bunker suppliers.  In the case of a vessel on time charter, we also recommend that notice should be given to the charterers.  The notices should be available for inspection by port state control officers, together with any commercial documentation (including the results of any fuel tests). 

Taking such steps will not guarantee that no deficiencies will be noted during the inspection.  However, the chances of this happening will be reduced if, by taking the steps outlined above, the crew can document that they made reasonable efforts to obtain the delivery note and samples in the required form from the supplier, and that the sulphur content is within the applicable limits.