The environmental health of the world’s seas has become an increasing concern on the international stage. The issues that confront ocean environments have a direct impact on the maritime industry. International regulations have evolved over recent decades as the threats to ecosystem health have risen, along with a scientific understanding of the greater implications for global environmental and human systems. The most recent of these regulations, IMO2020, will have significant impacts on commercial marine industries.

Critical Impacts of IMO2020

The new regulations, which took effect on January 01, 2020, govern the emissions of sulfur from ocean-faring vessels. Sulfur oxides are naturally emitted from the combustion of fuel used to power ships and tankers. These compounds are especially dangerous to marine and human life and have led to the acidification of ocean waters. The new law seeks to significantly reduce the allowable level of sulfur oxides, presenting financial and operational challenges for the industry. Alternative fuels, such as LGN and low-sulfur fuel oil, are available but can be hard to come by and expensive. The increased demand for the product leaves vessel owners and the shipping industry struggling to remain operational while complying with the new regulations, at least until new refineries come online.

Understanding IMO2020 is critically important to a well-functioning maritime industry. Planning operations around cost and alternative fuel availability can help reduce the risks associated with adapting to a new landscape while ensuring the ongoing protection of the marine environment.