The International Maritime Organisation has set stricter global regulations on sulphur emissions from vessels in a landmark decision.
The IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee agreed that emissions will fall from the current maximum of 3.5% of fuel content to 0.5%. According to Reuters, the new regulations will come into force from 2020.
This will result in extra costs for the shipping industry and questions have been raised as to whether refiners will make costly investment to product lower sulphur fuel.
Reuters states that the shipping industry is among the world’s biggest sulphur emitters, with sulphur oxide content in heavy fuel oil up to 3,500 times higher than the latest European diesel standards for vehicles.
Refiners are also set to be affected – with most of the three million barrels per day of high sulphur fuel oil being replaced with lower sulphur distillates.