Ships calling to ports in Sierra Leone could face serious fines if found in violation of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) 2020 measures.
From 1 September 2021, ship owners and operators risk penalties of up to $15,000 should they continue to carry fuel with a sulphur content exceeding 0.5%, according to the Sierra Leone Ports Authority.
The IMO 2020 service charge will be implemented even for ships with an exhaust gas cleaning system (scrubber) installed.
The port authority, in consultation with the Ministry of Transport and Aviation, consented to implement this important international member state mandate in July 2021.
Officials warned that Sierra Leone is 18 months behind the global mandate to implement the IMO 2020 statutory instrument.
In view of the above, the ports authority will serve as the consulting government agency to implement IMO 2020 measures.
Furthermore, it will undertake a joint implementation of the regulation, together with a competent institution for efficiency and standardisation.
The tariffs and fines are subject to periodic reviews based on prevailing circumstances.
Enforcement, compliance and monitoring of the IMO 2020 Sulphur limit fall under Regulations to Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).
In 2008, the IMO unanimously adopted the global sulphur cap requiring all ships to use fuels with a maximum of 0.05% sulphur content as of January 1, 2020.
It states that nations that have ratified MARPOL and acceded to Annex VI are obliged to give effect to and enforce the provisions of the regulation.
In March last year, major port state regimes including Paris MoU, Tokyo MoU and the United States Coast Guard (USCG), announced their plans to rigorously enforce the IMO’s Sulphur 2020 targets.