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NIMASA seeks support of refineries, fuel suppliers to ensure availability of sulphur compliant fuel

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is determined to ensure availability of marine fuels that comply with the regulation of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) limiting the sulphur content on fuel used on board ships to 0.50 percent m/m (mass by mass).

Bashir Jamoh, director-general of NIMASA, who stated this in Lagos at the meeting of the Agency with modular and other refinery operators and fuel oil suppliers in the country, said the Agency had made deliberate effort to conform to the new fuel oil mandate, known as IMO 2020.

Jamoh, who was represented by Isa Mudi, acting head, Marine Environment Management (MEM) Department of NIMASA, said the agency have had interfaces with the relevant stakeholders on how to reach a win-win agreement on Nigeria’s compliance with the IMO sulphur content cap.

“Nigeria has an advantage ab initio, because we produce low sulphur crude. The challenge for us now is conversion of this advantage to availability of bunker fuels that meet the IMO mandate. We have all it takes to be the bunker fuel hub for Sub-Saharan Africa. There is a $2 billion bunker fuel market in Sub-Saharan Africa waiting to be harnessed by our business men and women,” he said.

Though Nigerian refineries, he said, are not working at full-capacity, but this is an opportunity for the modular and other private refineries to come in to fill a vital gap in the marine fuel supply chain.

“With the coming into effect of IMO 2020, we assure you as an Agency that the country’s shipping community will be galvanised to ensure availability, supply, and, in fact, self-sufficiency in 0.5 percent sulphur content fuels in line with the IMO standard,” he assured.

In their contributions, representatives of the refineries and fuel oil suppliers pledged their cooperation with NIMASA and other relevant government agencies in the attempt to make the required fuel accessible.

The new sulphur oxide emissions cutting regulations mandate a maximum sulphur content of 0.5 per cent in marine fuels globally. The change is driven by the need to reduce air pollution generated in the shipping industry by reducing the Sulphur content of fuels that ships use.

The regulation came into force on January 1, 2020, marking a significant milestone in efforts to improve air quality, preserve the environment and protect human health.

The IMO 2020 rule limits the sulphur in the fuel oil used on board ships operating outside designated emission control areas to 0.50 percent m/m, a significant reduction from the previous limit of 3.5 percent. Within specifically designated emission control areas, the limits were already stricter (0.10 percent). This new limit was made compulsory following an amendment to Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).

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