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  • Speaking in an interview with JIS News, Director of Legal Affairs at the Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ), Bertrand Smith, explained that the main requirements to ensure that Jamaica is ready for the sulphur fuel cap are fuel availability and fuel quality assurance.                                                                                                                                          
  • This is to ensure that compliant fuel is in use or that the ship is equipped with the mechanisms such as scrubbers to regulate the sulphur emission content for compliance with the 0.5 per cent requirement.                                 
  • “It will provide for the licensing of bunkering operators and their vessels, which will ensure that the highest levels of safety and the protection of the maritime environment of Jamaica are achieved in the carriage and transfer of fuel within our waters,” the Minister explained.

The Maritime Authority of Jamaica says Jamaica is ready for the implementation of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) regulations for the 2020 Global Sulphur Limit, which comes into effect on January 1, 2020.

Under the new regulations, the IMO has set a limit of 0.5 per cent for Sulphur in fuel used onboard ships, down from 3.5 five per cent.

This is expected to significantly reduce the amount of sulphur oxide emanating from vessels and provide major health and environmental benefits, particularly for populations living close to ports and coasts.

Speaking in an interview with JIS News, Director of Legal Affairs at the Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ), Bertrand Smith, explained that the main requirements to ensure that Jamaica is ready for the sulphur fuel cap are fuel availability and fuel quality assurance.

“On both counts, the local bunker suppliers, including Petrojam, have indicated that Jamaica is ready,” he said.

Mr. Smith noted that suppliers have already imported fuel that meets the specifications of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) and in some cases, blending of the fuel will take place to meet the requirements.

Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Fayval Williams, had articulated Petrojam’s readiness at the recently held Caribbean Bunker Conference, which focused largely on the impending regulations.

She said that Petrojam stands ready to supply 0.5 per cent bunker fuel at the right price and quality to the market.

“Petrojam supplies marine oil at 0.5 per cent sulphur directly to customers, Ready to Work (RTW) Oil at all ports in Jamaica, intermediate fuel oil, ultra-low sulphur diesel at 15 parts per million and low sulphur to bunkering companies for sale to vessels,” she had indicated.

Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Robert Montague, in his address at the conference hosted by the MAJ, had outlined a series of preparations that Jamaica had undertaken ahead of the new regulations.

“The Government of Jamaica has, through the MAJ, in collaboration with stakeholders, implemented measures to support the compliance and enforcement of the Sulphur Cap by ships calling at our ports and Jamaican ships trading worldwide,” he said.

The Minister also informed that in accordance with the guidelines developed by the IMO and adopted and implemented by the Caribbean Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Port State Control, MAJ’s Port State Control Officers will be inspecting foreign vessels calling at Jamaican ports.

This is to ensure that compliant fuel is in use or that the ship is equipped with the mechanisms such as scrubbers to regulate the sulphur emission content for compliance with the 0.5 per cent requirement.

He also pointed out that Jamaica’s Port State Control Officers have been proactive in undertaking an awareness campaign leading into 2020 to increase consciousness among vessel operators who call at Jamaican ports.

This was done by issuing each vessel they boarded with a letter of information, reminding of the imminent entry into force of the regulations.

Minister Montague informed that work was far advanced on the legislation to facilitate adherence to the IMO requirement.

“The Ministry of Transport and Mining takes its responsibility to uphold standards seriously. In this regard we are well advanced in our undertaking to implement the MARPOL Convention…,” he said.

He advised that the draft legislation is in its final stages of preparation by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel.

“It will provide for the licensing of bunkering operators and their vessels, which will ensure that the highest levels of safety and the protection of the maritime environment of Jamaica are achieved in the carriage and transfer of fuel within our waters,” the Minister explained.

“We are, therefore, confident that we will be able to provide compliant fuel and regulate the sector to ensure the expected benefits of the regulations in terms of the reductions in toxic emissions while protecting the marine environment and the persons who work in the industry,” he assured.