APPLICATION of the UN's low-sulphur fuel rule on January 1 should be delayed to avoid fatal accidents with untested power sources, urged Greek Shipping Minister Ioannis Plakiotakis.
The IMO stated that any postponement or delay to the January 1 implementation was not feasible procedurally or legally, reported London's Lloyd's List.
But Mr Plakiotakis said more time was needed for a thorough assessment of the safety implications that the new regulations would create for vessels and crews.
"I urge the International Maritime Organisation Assembly and the member states to take this brave stance on this issue and consider the delay potentially of the implementation of the regulation until we find the right solutions," said Mr Plakiotakis in London.
"The IMO has the means and the experience to do this. But it must also have the will to do it," he said, echoing the views of Union of Greek Shipowners.
Mr Plakiotakis said more time was needed for a thorough assessment of the safety implications that the new regulations would create for vessels and crews.
Despite the general perception that the 0.5 per cent sulphur cap was settled, the fact that IMO bodies continued to discuss it showed there were still concerns that had not been addressed.
Among them was the lack of low-sulphur fuel availability, compatibility and safety as ships designed to burn heavy fuel oil were are risk of engine failure at sea. Intercargo, the leading dry cargo shipping association has also often criticised the sulphur cap.
But most industry bodies and the IMO believe that with sufficient preparation operators can mitigate theses problems.
Mr Plakiotakis also said Greece was putting into effect a regulation that penalises fuel suppliers that are not compliant with IMO regulations. He urged other governments to do the same.