By Godwin Oritse
IN a bid to ensure that Nigeria does not flout the International Maritime Organization, IMO, Convention on sulfur content of the fuel used by vessels, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC in conjunction with other relevant federal government agencies, have commenced moves to ensure compliance.
Disclosing this to newsmen in Lagos, Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, said that from the beginning of this year Nigeria will not be left out in the implementation of the convention.
According to him, the Agency is already discussing with the DPR, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SON; Customs and other relevant government agencies to ensure compliance.
Under the new sulfur limit, ships will have to use fuel oil on board with a sulfur content of not more than 0.50 per cent m/m, against the previous limit of 3.50 per cent, which has been in effect since January 1, 2012. The interpretation of fuel oil used on board includes use in main and auxiliary engines and boilers.
Simply put, limiting sulfur oxides emissions from ships reduces air pollution and results in a cleaner environment. Reducing Sulfur Oxide also reduces particulate matter, tiny harmful particles which form when fuel is burnt.
The new rule will affect more than 70,000 ships globally.
Peterside stated: “You are aware that by January 2020 this year, the IMO would have outlawed the use of any fuel on board that contains more than 3.5 percent sulfur content. Though IMO has created a window for developing countries, that notwithstanding, our own emphasis is not the window; we are working very hard to ensure that we comply with the convention’s global standard within this year.
“We have adopted a four point approach and the first one is to raise awareness of all shippers in the country and so we have started a number of engagements with ship owners, operators, captains of ships and seafarers.
“The second one is that we have engagement with DPR, NNPC, refineries and others to ensure that we have available fuel that meets that international condition.
“The third thing is that we are developing an enforcement regime that will be transparent and known by everybody so that when we come on board your vessel and if you do not comply, off-course you know the consequence and lastly, we are building the capacity of our people in-house to enforce the new regulation.”