Commercial Vessel Compliance

6/5/2017: Nor-Shipping 2017 – “Transparency call from U.S. Coast Guard,” Reprint of TradeWinds article

Following is an article that appeared May 30, 2017, on, covering comments given by Rear Adm. Paul Thomas, assistant commandant for prevention policy, during the DNV GL panel at Norshipping 2017. The panel focused on the 2020 global 0.5 percent sulphur emissions cap, fuel availability, and enforcement.

The article is re-posted in its entirety with the permission of TradeWinds and the author. To view the article on line, visit Posting the article in no way implies Coast Guard endorsement of any publication or product.

Transparency call from US Coast Guard
The technology is available today to know the impact on the environment in real time, argues USCG senior officer
May 30th, 2017 06:04 GMT by Darrin Griggs

If global shipowners truly want a level playing field in today’s tough new era of environmental regulation, then they should do their share to make it happen, says the US Coast Guard.

Increased transparency is one of the main keys to helping regulators help the industry, said USCG Rear Admiral Paul Thomas, who delivered the keynote address at DNV GL’s conference yesterday on sulphur emissions.

The global 0.5% sulphur cap is looming in 2020 and the talk centered on whether these requirements will be met with unproven scrubbers or with low-sulphur fuel, which may be in short supply.

“The shipping industry is responsible for increasing transparency in a way that helps those of us who provide the governance to give shipping the level playing field it demands,” said Thomas.

“I think that in every possible turn, this industry needs to figure out how to increase transparency, particularly around the environmental challenges.”

For example, he said the technology is available today to know the impact on the environment, in real time, for “every waste stream” from a vessel.

“The other role the industry has to do, really, is to figure out how to manage the operational risk associated with the new environmental regulations,” said Thomas. “It is just not simply good enough to say, I don’t get enough power out of my engine when I burn low-sulphur fuel. The industry really needs to step up.”

Rob Cox, technical director at IPIECA, the global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues, highlighted the expected impact of new fuel rules.

He said that the International Energy Agency (IEA) has referred to the lowering of the bunker-fuel emission cap from 3.5% down to 0.5% as “easily the most dramatic change in fuel specifications in any oil product market on such a large scale”. For the IEA’s forecasts to 2022, its analysis released this year stated that the supply of low-sulphur fuel will not be able to meet coming demand.

Cox said refiners are out of time for meeting the deadline in 2020. He told the conference that investments to produce low-sulphur fuel at refineries have not been implemented and would take four or five years to bring online, not to mention billions of dollars in investment.

The panel discussion included Lauritzen Kosan’s Claus Winter Graugaard, Gulf Navigation’s Omar Abu Omar, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics’ Anna Larsson, and International Bunker Industry Association’s Unni Einemo, who is also a representative at the IMO.
This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

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