Swiss-based liner operator MSC has said it is in talks with the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) Federal Transport Authority (FTA) following the arrest of its vessel, MSC Joanna, which was carrying 700 tonnes of high sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) in contravention of the carriage ban.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) introduced the carriage ban on 1 March, which prohibits vessels that do not have an exhaust gas cleaning system (EGCS) installed from carrying high sulphur fuels.
MSC Joanna, a 9,200TEU vessel, entered Jebel Ali with 700 tonnes of HFO onboard, in spite of warnings from the FTA to debunker the non-compliant fuel, furthermore the master was ordered to debunker the HSFO before its departure from Jebel Ali, again the master ignored the FTA and sailed with the fuel on board.
As a result of the master’s actions the vessel has been banned from the UAE for a year and the master has also been banned, though it is unclear for how long, and the FTA has said it will initiate legal proceedings against the master
In a statement released on the evening of 18 March MSC said it was fully committed to the sulphur regulation, but that MSC Joanna was due to have an EGCS installed, but with the delays caused by the Coronavirus pandemic the work has been delayed. The vessel is now scheduled to have an EGCS installed in June 2020.
MSC also pointed out that it had a large fleet of 520 ships and, “All vessels requiring compliant fuel were supplied in advance of the implementation date.”
In addition, the company said, “We have sufficient arrangements in place for compliant low-sulphur fuel to maintain our commitment to IMO 2020 and we will implement orders for EGCS as part of a planned diversification strategy where appropriate in due course.”