Environmental Pollution: We’ll Enforce 0.5% Bunker Fuel Sulphur Limit, NIMASA Declares


By the year 2020, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) will  enforce strict compliance to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) regulation which puts a maximum of 0.5%  sulphur cap  on all fuel used by vessels .

NIMASA Director-General, Dr. Dakuku Peterside stated this in Dubai during an interactive session with journalists at the ongoing maritime week holdin in United Arab Emirate, UAE. He  notified the international shipping community that Nigeria, through his Agency, was committed to meeting the requirements adopted at the 73rd meeting of the  Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the United Nations which aims at  reducing the sulphur content permitted in ships’ fuel oil globally to 0.5% with effect from 1st January 2020.

“The 2020 fuel challenge is geared towards energy efficiency, environmental pollution control, health as well as core regulatory enforcement issues. 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” Dr. Dakuku said.

Speaking further, the NIMASA DG said that the IMO ban which relates to fuel intended for combustion, propulsion and operation purposes on board ships will enter into force on March 1st 2020, adding that all member states are expected to comply with the stated standards by this date.

He said it was in the best interest of Africa to ensure compliance considering the fact that majority of the countries on the continent do not have the technology to mitigate  harmful effects of high sulphur fuel  on the environment, ocean life  and human life .

The NIMASA boss enumerated some of the steps the agency plans to take to manage the transition and ensure compliance. He noted that NIMASA will embark on massive enlightenment, stakeholders’ engagement and liaison as well as collaboration with fuel refiners and suppliers. He also said that the Agency would have a schedule for pre- enforcement information before the commencement of the proper enforcement.

Commenting on the best way to enforce compliance, Dr Peterside said that ship owners, classification societies, NGOs, fuel storage facilities, and other stakeholders will all play a part in determining modalities for ensuring compliance .

It is worthy of note that the IMO has been working to reduce harmful effects of shipping on environment since 1960. The Annex VI to the International Convention for the Prevention of pollution from ships (MARPOL) was adopted in 1997 to address air pollution from shipping.

The regulation 14.1.3 of Annex VI of the Convention seeks to control airborne emissions of compounds such as sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides and other ozone depleting substances arising from shipping activities in order to mitigate its effects on health and the environment.