Ghana Shippers’ Authority and Ghana Maritime Authority has taken a crucial step to ensure the smooth implementation of the new International Maritime Organisation (IMO) 2020 regulations on Sulphur emissions.

The global IMO Sulphur Cap 2020 regulations specify that every vessel adheres to strict Sulphur emissions limits by January 1, 2020 or face significant consequences, including fines and delays to shipping schedules.

This regulations aimed at addressing one of the major environmental challenges, which is air pollution from the maritime transportation.

In Ghana, the maritime sector alone consumed about 3.8 million barrels of fuel oils per day in 2017.
This enormous combustion of fuel by ships accounts for over 90% of the transport sector fuel emissions into the atmosphere.

More so, a study on the human health impacts of sulphur oxide (SOx) emissions from ships, submitted to IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) in 2016 by Finland, estimated that by not reducing the SOx limit for ships from 2020, the air pollution from ships would contribute to more than 570,000 additional premature deaths worldwide between 2020 and 2025.

To respond to this, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will enforce a new 0.5% global Sulphur Cap on fuel content from 1 January 2020 lowering it from the present 3.5% limit.

The Chief Director of the Ministry of Transport Mrs. Mabel Sagoe, made this revelation during a a sensitisation seminar for shippers and shipping service providers on the impact of IMO 2020 Sulphur Cap Regulations on shipping cost in Accra, jointly organised by the GSA and the GMA.

“The level of pollution in the air is rising; exhaust gases from ships are considered to be a significant source of air pollution, both for conventional pollutants and greenhouse gases.

The main type of bunker oil for ships is very heavy fuel oil derived as a residue from crude oil distillation. Crude oil contains sulphur which following combustion in the engine, ends up in ship emissions,” she explained.

The main elements of pollution are nitrogen oxide and Sulphur oxide, which are mainly due to the presence and burning of Sulphur compounds in the fuel and causes respiratory symptoms and lung disease.

According to her, the global system of shipping industry required that, Ghana aligned itself to the implementation of shipping regulations and standards because the country was a member of the IMO and a signatory to the Marpol convention.

“Limiting Sulphur oxide emissions from ships would improve air quality and protect the environment, adding that the country needed to prepare adequately to create the needed awareness and adopt policy strategy to adhere to the regulations,” she explained.

For the Ministry, we recognised the need to ensure optimum port cost as a prerequisite for greater competitiveness of Ghanaian shippers, calling on stakeholders in the sector to support government efforts to ensure successful implementation of trade facilitation measures at our ports”.

Government’s was committed to ensuring that the Ghana’s international trade remained competitive, paving way for the vision of the regional trade Hub. The start of the new Meridian.

Port Services terminal three and the ongoing port expansion projects at the Takoradi port were all expected to boost trade.

Adding that, the ongoing reforms including the paperless cargo clearance system were being evaluated to ensure greater efficiency with the aim of seeing an overall improvement in the cost of doing business in the ports.

This she said, the government has constituted an inter-ministerial committee to meet the deadline for the implementation of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) 2020 Sulphur Cap regulations.

The committee comprised of representatives from the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA), the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA), the National Petroleum Commission, the Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority.

“Today’s seminar is part of the necessary steps required to ensure Ghana is ready and is in compliance with the regulations,” stated.

The Chief Executive Officer, Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) Ms. Benonita Bismarck, hinted that the seminar is the first of its kind since the establishment of the two organizations.

According to her, the African Maritime Transport Charter 2020 of which Ghana had subscribed to, sheds light on the remits of maritime administrations relating to safety, security and pollution of the maritime environment, while the shippers organisations dealt with freight rates, port charges, Conditions of Shipment and Multimodal Transportation.

“It is also important to underscore the fact that this collaboration is indicative of a new era of collaboration on issues of common interests with the view to developing Ghana’s maritime industry,” she stated.

According to her, Sulphur in gasoline impaired the effectiveness of emission control systems and contributed to air pollution.

This she said, reducing its content enabled advanced emission controls and reduced the pollution.
However, she noted that the GMA would focus on providing guidelines for the compliance and monitoring of the IMO 2020 Sulphur Cap regulations while the GSA focused on the impact of compliance by shipping lines on their charges.

The Deputy Director General in charge of Operations and Technical, GMA, Mr Daniel Mr Daniel Appianin, said statistics revealed that there were more than 100,000 transport ships at sea transporting every kind of cargo.

Shipping transports more than 80 per cent of international trade to peoples and communities all over the world.
In 2016, it was reported that ships carried more than 10 billion tons of trade for the first time globally.

The GMA superintends over the Maritime Pollution Act (ACT 932), which provides for the prevention, regulation and control of maritime pollution within the territorial waters of the country and other maritime zones.

Source:Isaac Kofi Dzokpo/

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