MSC becomes the first casualty of IMO’s Carriage Ban

IMO Carriage Ban - shipping and freight resourceWe previously reported that as part of MARPOL Annex VI regulation (IMO2020), the member states of the International Maritime Organisation adopted a complementary amendment which came into effect on the 1st of March 2020..

The “Carriage Ban” as it is called, prohibits the carriage of non-compliant HSFO (Heavy Sulphur Fuel Oil) for purposes of propulsion or operation on board a ship unless the ship has been fitted with an exhaust gas cleaning system – EGCS commonly known as scrubber..

As from this date it will be considered an offense for any ship to be carrying fuel that contains sulphur content higher than 0.5% for purposes of propulsion or operation, unless the ship has a scrubber..

In the previous article, we raised a question “Will the IMO, which remained steadfast in its implementation of the IMO2020 regulation from 1st Jan 2020 also remain steadfast with the implementation of the “Carriage Ban” come 1st March 2020..??“..

Well it seemingly has..


As per the Carriage Ban regulation, Port State Control (PSC) of the various parties to the IMO have the full liberty to check the bunker tanks of ships for non-compliant fuel..

The MSC Joanna a 9,200 TEU container ship became the first casualty of this new carriage ban when it was found to be carrying about 700 tons of HSFO when it called at Jebel Ali in the United Arab Emirates, according to The Federal Transport Authority (FTA)..

Subsequently, the FTA has banned this ship from operating in UAE waters and ports for a duration of one year whereas the ship’s Master has been banned from working on any ship calling UAE waters or ports..

It has been reported that legal action will be initiated against the master due to the violation of the UAE enforced legislation related to the International Maritime Instruments and the UAE maritime commercial law..

As per the news report, “The ship was ordered to offload HSFO before its departure to comply with the carriage ban imposed in the UAE on March 1. The ship sailed out without offloading the HSFO and obtaining the port state control officer’s permission.”

The solutions that ship owners/operators have is to ensure the fuel they use is compliant with the sulphur limits set out in MARPOL Annex VI, and ensure that the residual high sulphur fuel in the tanks does not push the limit above 0.50%..

Many ship owners/operators who have HSFO on board are left to identify options on how to dispose it off..

In order to achieve compliance with the regulation, these ship owners/operators can choose between de-bunkering the HSFO or blending of the non-compliant fuels on-board..

De-bunkering of course comes with costs and potential losses whereas onboard blending could come with some red tape in terms of the ship being able to demonstrate that the blending has been done in such a way to produce compliant fuel..

Each PSC determines the level of punitive measures to be imposed on defaulting ships including detention and UAE’s PSC seems to be pretty serious in this regard..

*** End of Article ***

1 thought on “MSC becomes the first casualty of IMO’s Carriage Ban”

  1. Regulatory issues surrounding emission controls must be strictly enforced and, in the instant case, FTA is understood to be doing exactly that. It is a pity that a company of MSC’s stature and standing in the industry is seen to be violative.

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