It’s a known fact that sulfur and sulfur oxide emissions can cause air pollution in the environment, and this is one of the things you learn from your maritime courses in the Philippines. For this reason, the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Global Sulfur Cap was established to combat such pollution. The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) is now calling for the strict compliance of ship operators to the IMO 2020 Global Sulfur Cap as the regulation begins to take effect at the start of the new year.
Part of the proper adherence to this regulation is to reduce sulfur in ship’s fuels from 3.50% to 0.50% as stated by Annex VI of the MARPOL (maritime pollution) Convention. All Philippine-owned ships both in and out of the country are required to comply with this order and look for alternative and renewable energy sources as a means to effectively implement the Global Sulfur Cap in our country.
That being said, this plan of action still faces challenges despite its good intentions. The main issues in this regulation being carried out are the cost and availability of fuel sources that meet the guidelines set by the Global Sulfur Cap. To address this, MARINA is in constant contact with ship owners, stakeholders, and government entities – among them the Department of Energy (DOE). Aside from that, MARINA is also looking to verify the current demand for fuel by holding a survey among shipping companies in the country.
With all these measures in place, MARINA aims to ensure the execution of the Global Sulfur Cap this 2020 goes off without a hitch. In the meantime, the agency is also exerting effort to address maritime pollution in general by partnering with DOE, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).