FG Plans Sanction Regime for Vessels Contravening IMO Sulphur Regulations

FG Plans Sanction Regime for Vessels Contravening IMO Sulphur Regulations

•Nigeria receives largest LNG-powered container vessel

Gilbert Ekugbe

The Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, yesterday announced plans to sanction vessels that contravene the sulphur regulations implemented by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Gboyega Oyetola, stated this at the arrival ceremony of CMA-CGM Scandola largest container vessel (LNG-powered) to berth in Nigeria.

Oyetola who was represented by the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko, said the present administration has taken concrete steps towards the procurement of necessary tools to enhance the authority’s capacity for sulphur analysis.

Sulphur regulations refer to the limits set on the amount of sulphur content in fuels used by ships and vehicles. The regulation has been in force globally since January 1, 2020. Vessels with exhaust gas cleaning systems installed are still allowed to use high-sulphur fuel.

“We will continue to support the NPA in its efforts at ensuring stakeholders’ compliance with the IMO sulphur regulation on Nigerian waterways.

“The driver of this change is the need to minimise the air pollution created in the shipping industry by reducing the sulphur content of the fuels that ships use. So transition to the use of natural gas which is more environmentally friendly by vessels plying our waterways is a most welcome development,” he said.

He said that the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy was convinced that shipping has a pivotal role to play in global decarbonisation efforts.

“This is why I will like to seize this moment to commend the management for the NPA’s compliance with the ministerial directive to take cognizance of global energy transition in its port modernisation project by deliberately factoring in measures that promote energy efficiency,” he stated.

“Apart from its distinctive feature of eco-friendliness, Scandola ranks amongst the largest container ships to be calling in West Africa with 15,000 TEUs.”

He pointed out that Lekki Deep Seaport’s natural depth of 16 meters added to its multifaceted efficiencies, state-of-the-art equipment and robust infrastructure which offers a capacity of up to 1.2 million TEUs in the phase 1 positions the port to serve as a mega transhipment hub, to Nigeria’s neighbouring countries in the Gulf of Guinea and beyond.

“With shipping volumes promising to get higher, forward looking investments such as the one we are gathered here to celebrate will certainly have a big impact in the long run,” he added.

This, he said, is driven by the larger national interest due to the fact that Nigeria’s gas quality is reputed to be high and virtually without sulphur.

“I have said all of these to show that we align with the global discourse which posits that the reduction in the use of heavy hydrocarbons and increasing the use of LNG in maritime transport could help reduce carbon dioxide emissions and other pollution arising from international trade.

“This is a step in the right direction as we confront the challenges associated with climate change and air quality. Let me commend Lekki Deep Seaport for recording another remarkable first, in addition to being Nigeria’s first Deep Seaport and first fully automated port,” he added.

He reaffirmed that the administration of Bola Tinubu was poised to continuously support noble investor efforts in its concerted bid to optimise the rich blue economy inherent in the nation’s maritime endowments.

Also speaking, the Governor, Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said the arrival of the vessel speaks to what the government is about and Nigeria’s readiness for business.

He added that the Lekki port had put and enshrined Nigeria as one of the big movers of port transactions in the world.

“But more importantly for us in Lagos, is to say to you that we are excited that these are exciting times for us. We believe we still have capacity for a lot more. The sheer size of this country, the economy that we want to grow and the president has challenged us and said that by 2030, we want to be close to a $1 trillion economy,” he said.

“We are not going to achieve that by just a statement. We are going to achieve that by the work and the shared determination that all of us in this room, in different sectors and  different spheres of endeavour put together,” he added.

On his part, the Managing Director of Lekki Deep Seaport, Du Rougang, said that the berthing of the vessel was creating a new plan for Nigeria’s ports.

“We want to ensure that Lekki Port plays a major role in the nation’s maritime industry, ” he said.

The Managing Director of CMA-CGM Nigeria Shipping Limited, Hinelder Ferreira, said the container ship, which is a 366 Metre Length Overall (LOA) with capacity for 15,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) ranks amongst the first largest LNG -powered vessel to be calling in West Africa.

He said by deploying the biomethane and e-methane ready container ships, the CMA CGM group demonstrates once again its commitment to support West Africa’s supply chains by increasing deployed capacity, as well as the group’s role as a pioneer to decarbonise shipping and logistics’ in the region and worldwide.

Ferreira stressed that the vessel currently runs on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), improving air quality by avoiding up to 99 per cent of sulphur emission.

He noted that once supply is available, the ships will be capable of using BioLNG (liquefied biomethane produced from biowaste), and e-methane (synthetic-methane produced from decarbonised hydrogen), a source of carbon-neutral fuel.

He said the group invested close to $15 billion in decarbonising its fleet and is currently operating 35 dual-fuel LNG-powered containerships, and will have almost 120 vessels capable of being powered by decarbonised fuels by 2028.

He added that following the call in Nigeria, the Scandola will continue its voyage and sail to Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

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