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ECSA - Overview of ‘fuel changeover’ issues and challenges as they affect ECA-SOx compliance

Author: European Ship Owners Association
Pages: 4
This overview of the key technical and operational aspects faced by ships when undertaking fuel changeover on entering an ECA-SOx is intended to provide competent authorities with an insight into the particular is-sues and challenges of that process when assessing compliance with the EU Sulphur Directive 2012/33/EC. 

From the Document:
From January 1st 2015 the maximum sulphur content of fuel oil used by ships within the Emission Control Areas for SOx (ECA-SOx) as given in both MARPOL Annex VI and the EU Sulphur Directive will reduce from the current 1.00% limit to 0.10 %, except where an approved alternative means (sulphur emission abatement technology) is in use. Outside the ECA-SOx the fuel oil used will remain, for now, to be usually a high viscosity re-sidual fuel oil generally limited to 3.50% maximum sulphur - HSRFO. Whereas much of the 1.00% maximum sulphur fuel oil was, like the outside ECA-SOx fuel oil, a residual fuel oil prod-uct, this 0.10% maximum sulphur fuel will mostly be a low sul-phur distillate fuel oil – LSDFO. Consequently, for ships operat-ing both inside and outside ECA-SOx, this will represent a major change from existing practice both in terms of the different characteristics of the two types of fuel oils used and the in-creased sulphur differential between those fuels (Alternative 0.10% sulphur content marine fuel characteristics with storing and handling qualities of HSRFO – such as Exxon’s HDME 50 - are also just being introduced into the market adding to further handling challenges for the crew).