By Chidubem Anthony
Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, said the agency would enforce strict compliance with the 0.5 per cent maximum sulphur cap on all fuel used by vessels for combustion, propulsion and operation purposes by 2020.
Aimed at cleaner and healthier oceans and life generally, he noted that the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) regulation was in Africa’s best interest considering that most nations on the continent have no technology to mitigate the harmful effects of high sulphur fuel on the environment, ocean and human life.
Peterside, who made the commitment at the ongoing maritime week in Dubai, told newsmen that it was part of the requirements adopted at the 73rd meeting of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the United Nations maritime organ, effective January 1, 2020.
“The 2020 fuel challenge is geared towards energy efficiency, environmental pollution control, health, as well as core regulatory enforcement issues,” a statement by the NIMASA Head of Corporate Communications, Mr. Isichei Osamgbi, cited Peterside to say.
“As a maritime nation, we cannot afford not to comply with the IMO standard, which will also do a lot in mitigating global warming and other related environmental issues.”
Peterside further listed the steps that NIMASA would take to manage the transition and ensure compliance to include massive enlightenment, stakeholder-engagement and liaison, as well as collaboration with fuel refiners and suppliers.
He assured that there would be a pre-enforcement information schedule before proper enforcement begins, adding that the best way to enforce compliance is to engage all relevant stakeholders – ship owners, classification societies, non-governmental organisations and fuel storage facility owners, among others, to determine its modalities.
The IMO has been working to reduce harmful effects of shipping on the environment since 1960. Annex VI to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from ships (MARPOL) was adopted in 1997 to address air pollution from shipping.
Regulation 14.1.3 of the annex seeks to control airborne emissions of compounds such as sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides and other ozone-depleting substances arising from shipping activities to mitigate their effects on health and the environment.
PHOTO CAPTION: NIMASA Director-General, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, flanked by maritime stakeholders at the ongoing maritime week in Dubai, United Arab Emirates