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Web Alert: South Africa - Effective implementation of IMO 2020 0.50% Sulphur Cap

10 April 2019

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has recently published two Marine Notices:

a) No. 8 of 2019, to advise of the global implementation of the MARPOL Annex VI limit of 0.50 mass per cent concentration (0.50% m/m) sulphur content in fuel oil, for all ships, from 1 January 2020; and

b) No. 9 of 2019, which provides a standard format for reporting fuel oil non-availability as provided in regulation 18.2.4 of MARPOL Annex VI that may be used to document if a ship is unable to obtain compliant fuel oil.

The following points may be of particular interest to our members:

  1. Ships installed with exhaust gas cleaning systems (scrubbers) can continue to burn high-sulphur bunker fuel from 2020 and comply with the 0.5% sulphur limit and until further notice South Africa accepts all types of approved scrubbers.
  2. South Africa has no restrictions on ships using LNG or Marine Biofuels when entering South African waters.
  3. The International Bunker Industry Association has expressed confidence that low sulphur fuel oil will be available in South African ports by 1 January 2020.
  4. Ships will be required to either use Annex VI compliant fuel oil when operating within South African waters or to install and use scrubbers.
  5. If a ship is found not to be in compliance with the standards for compliant fuel oils, SAMSA will be entitled to require the ship to:

    - present a record of the actions taken to attempt to achieve compliance
    - provide evidence that it attempted to purchase compliant fuel oil in accordance with its voyage plan, and if it was not available where planned, that attempts were made to locate alternative sources of such fuel oil, and that despite best efforts to obtain compliant fuel oil, no such fuel oil was available for purchase.

  6. SAMSA may also verify compliance by any methods available to it including but not limited to sampling and analysing fuel oil from a ship’s fuel oil tanks and lines and sampling and analysing air emissions from a ship’s plume.
  7. A ship is unable to procure compliant fuel oil prior to entering South African waters, the master must notify SAMSA and the vessel’s own Flag Administration.


A full PDF copy of the marine notices published by SAMSA can be found in the attachments on the right.