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Sunday, October 21, 2018


The Dutch Administration is now adopting a strict enforcement of the EU Directive 1999/32/EC (low sulphur content in motor diesel oils (MDOs) as fuel used by ships in intra-European ports). The EU Directive goes far beyond the limits set by MARPOL Annex VI requirements and limits the sulphur content in bunkers to 0.2%.

This rule has inevitably creates many problems. The amounts of MDOs with such low sulphur content are limited and not sufficiently available to cover the needs of shipping, as members have experienced. We understand that this was the reason why the monitoring of the implementation of this Directive (in force from 1 July 2000) has not been previously undertaken by most of the port authorities.

However, we understand from the attached Interpretation of the Dutch Government, (see below) that they are now strictly implementing the EU Directive. As proof, we recently learned that a ship was reported to have been detained in a Dutch port because the fuel she had was not in compliance.

Although due regard should be paid to the fact that the document we have is a translation of the original Interpretation, INTERTANKO would like to make two further comments:

1/ The Interpretation refers to use of "Certain Liquid Fuels" in the Implementation order - This is surprising since the EU Directive 1999/32/EC only targets Gas/Diesel oils (the EU Directive makes reference to the International specifications - ISO 8217 - Table 1).

2/ According to the fourth bullet point under section "applicability", the 0.2% sulphur content MDO should be used even by ships departing for a non-EU port within the 12 nautical miles zone. Only ships arriving from a non-EU port are exempted. This will create many complications and we can foresee a lot of operational and logistical problems for ships departing for a non EU port.

INTERTANKO is taking this up with the authorities and seeking clarification. We have also been led to believe that the UK and Denmark appear to share the views of The Netherlands.

Web link: Interpretation from the Dutch Government