In the first few weeks of the implementation of IMO 2020, the P & I Association held its breath because of a series of new liability risks brought by fuel compliance, scrubber performance and washing water issues.
The P & I association may be concerned about whether there is a deliberate disregard of the rules in each case.
Since the 0.5% sulfur restriction order came into effect on January 1, 2020, there is no transition period, so PSC has been implementing the regulation since that date. China has reported the first violations a few days ago. PSC will also implement a ban on the transportation of non-conforming fuel from March 1, 2020. The risk manager of the P & I Association recommends that the ship operator develop a robust implementation plan and keep detailed and comprehensive records on board to prove that the plan has been carefully followed. They stressed that if the PSC holds the vessel due to non-compliance, the crew must be able to demonstrate that their actions are serious and that all reasonable actions have been taken to comply. Risk experts also warned that the crew had tried all reasonable and feasible measures to prove that they could not obtain compliance fuel at the port for unpredictable reasons. IMO's standard format, fuel unavailability report (Fonar), enables the captain to report the situation that qualified fuel cannot be purchased. In this case, accurate onboard records are essential.
There is a particular risk that the discretion of the P & I Association's members may be prejudiced if the ship's operators are fined for the contamination of the HFO residue in the fuel tanks on board because it is not properly cleaned, an internal P & I Association document warns.