US seeks change to shipping sector sulphur cap

The Trump Administration supports an ‘experience building phase’ being introduced

The US supports an ‘experience building phase’ being included as part of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) 2020 sulphur cap on shipping emissions.

White House officials suggest the Trump Administration is backing a paper being presented to the organisation by several IMO member states and NGOs, calling for a change to the international clampdown on polluting marine fuels.

Ships have historically burned high-sulphur bunker fuel – new regulations will require vessels to burn fuel with a maximum sulphur content of 0.5%, down from a current limit of 3.5%.

A spokesperson for the White House reportedly told the Wall Street Journal this was in order to mitigate the impact of “precipitous fuel-cost increases” on consumers, suggesting the US was not looking to withdraw or delay from the agreement.

The introductory phase would be intended to “inform the implementation of the 2020 sulphur cap” and help avoid the risk that some ships might not be able to obtain cleaner-burning fuels that meet the new minimum standard.

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