Reuters reported this week that Indonesian authorities will allow Indonesian flagged ships operating in its waters to burn fuel with a higher sulphur content than the global cap permits, which is 0.5 per cent. Ships will therefore be allowed to burn marine fuels with a sulphur content of up to 3.5 per cent, without the use of scrubbers.
According to the Ministry of Transportation, Indonesia has abundant supplies of heavy sulphur fuel (3.5 per cent sulphur content), while the high cost of cleaner fuel has led the authorities to come to this decision.
Ships that are Indonesian-flagged but operating in international waters will still be required to comply with the 0.5 per cent global sulphur limit.
Immediate concerns have been raised among industry players. Indonesia’s decision could create an unlevel and unfair playing field, exactly what the IMO and its member states are trying to move away from. In addition, there is concern that other countries may follow.