Nautilus International, maritime professionals’ union have issued a warning of a probable new seafarer criminalisation after the enforcement of the new global restrictions on the emission of Sulphur in shipping from the 1st of January 2020.
The members have told the Union that a lot of seafarers are very alarmed because of the probability of being in trouble with no trouble of their own.
The penalties for not complying with the new 0.5% limit will comprise high fines or long term jail sentences in some nations and also the detention of ships. The limit will stay at 0.10% in the designated emission control areas (ECAs).
An year ago, the master of the P&O Cruises vessel Azura was fined €100,000 by France for the usage of fuel that was 0.18% above the limit of sulphur content.
A variety of safety and operational concerns comprising incidents of power loss when changing fuels, lubrication issues, filter problems and leaks were also mentioned by the members of Nautilus.
The change overs of fuel have made extra workloads with the engineers needing to take more care to deal with challenges like contamination, compatibility, stability, viscosity and lubricity, combustion and ignition qualities, cat fines, cold flow properties, and flash points.
The professional and technical committee of the Union has also discussed reports about how low sulphur fuels are leading to additional destruction of engine components, boilers, purifiers, filters, tanks, heat exchangers, and piping.
Nautilus professional and technical officer David Appleton commented, “Whilst we firmly support the moves to improve the shipping industry’s environmental performance, it’s clear that IMO 2020 is imposing a massive new burden on seafarers, both in terms of workload and in their exposure to potentially huge fines and criminal convictions.
“It’s essential that shipping companies do all they can to provide their masters, officers and crews with the training and resources required to ensure compliance with the new rules,’ he added.
“These are complex requirements, with complex and varied enforcement mechanisms, and our members need to be protected against the threat of legal proceedings arising from inadvertent infringement of the rules.
“As ever, Nautilus will support members who are exposed to unwarranted criminalisation, and it is also important that they contact the Union should they be forced to cheat the system in any way by management.”