New US procedure for reporting non-availability of compliant fuel and the issuance of FONARs - MARPOL Annex VI - Sulphur Cap 2020


Published: 15 July 2019

Credit to: Igor Grochev /

On 28 June 2019, the US Coast Guard published a new procedure for notification of non-availability of compliant fuel.

Effective as of 30 June 2019 all owners and operators operating vessels in the US ECA zones who are unable to acquire complaint bunkers must issue a Fuel Non Availability Report ("FONAR") to the US Coast Guard Captain of the Port ("COTP").

What was a collaborative effort as between USCG and the US Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") is no longer tenable. Although the 2011 Memorandum of Understanding remains in place it is no longer possible to submit the FONAR to the EPA.

The COTP will monitor and handle violations of MARPOL Annex VI in the first instance whilst the EPA will pick up the more serious violations for criminal instigations.

Therefore, failure to provide a FONAR to the COTP prior to the vessel's arrival may result in a vessel detention and/or enforcement action.

Importantly, the COTP has the right to report breaches of the Convention to the vessel's Flag State which finds itself outside of US jurisdiction. This type of coordination is greatly needed between Signatory States and Flag States for the purposes of harmonisation of transnational jurisdictions.

The new format of a FONAR can be found on IMO's website at Appendix 1 of the Resolution MEPC 74. The questionnaire has been discussed in Skuld's May publication.