Industry News and Updates:
Story 1) California tightens testing standards for vessel low sulfur fuel - September 21, 2020
Story 2) Coast Guard, Air National Guard conduct long-range joint rescue mission - September 02, 2020
Story 3) Mississippi River Set To Port Condition Zulu - Marco Nearing Landfall - August 24, 2020
Story 4) USCG Updates Ballast Water Management Reporting Form - August 12, 2020
Story 5) Deal Signed To Deepen Lower Mississippi River To 50 Feet - August 03, 2020
1) California Tightens Testing Standards For Vessel Low Sulfur Fuel
As a reminder, the State of California requires all vessels, including those with stack exhaust scrubbers, to burn 0.1% Sulfur DISTILLATE fuel in all main engines, auxiliary engines and boilers upon entering California State waters. Also as a reminder, California is claiming state waters out to 24 miles from the California baseline.
With the advent of the 0.5% sulfur IMO fuel requirement, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has recently decided to strengthen their fuel testing protocol in an effort to identify ships burning residual fuel oil rather than distillate fuel even if that fuel is at 0.1% sulfur or less. The Pacific Merchants Shipping Association (PMSA) recently circulated the following in an effort to inform industry of this upcoming change.
“CARB Enorcement staff reached out to PMSA to discuss changes in how they intend to enforce the existing OGV Fuel Rule. Under the rule, vessels operating within 24 nautical miles of California must use a marine distillate fuel with a sulfur content that does not exceed 0.1% by weight (consistent with ISO 8217 DMA or DMB specifications). During enforcement inspections, CARB staff collects a fuel sample and analyzes for sulfur content. With the advent of the IMO standard of 0.5% sulfur limit globally in January, CARB has found it difficult to distinguish distillate fuel from residual fuel on the basis of sulfur content. As a result, they intend to expand their analysis to include a test for micro-carbon residue in order to distinguish between distillate and residual fuels. ISO 8217 does have a parameter for micro-carbon residue (maximum value of 0.30% by mass). As the parameters of ISO 8217 are incorporated by reference into the OGV Fuel Rule, the additional analysis is consistent with the requirements of the existing rule. Nonetheless, CARB intends to provide a six-month grace period for incorporating the new parameter analysis into their enforcement routine. CARB has also asked PMSA to help inform the industry on these changes.”
Please note, the above is NOT a change to the regulations. It is only a change in the fuel testing protocol. However, operators of ships burning 0.1%S residual fuel oil should take note and plan to switch to distillate fuel before entering California waters.