Regulation 18 and FONAR – leniency not legitimacy

There has been a tendency for reference to be made to Regulation 18 (of Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973 as modified by the Protocol of 1978) as containing ‘exceptions’ to Regulation 14 (of the same), which sets out the maximum sulphur content limits for marine fuels.  While this may be a convenient short-hand description, it can lead to misunderstandings. In drafting Annex VI, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) deliberately left it to state parties (be they flag or, more likely, port) to enforce Regulation 14 and it is for state parties to determine what consequences should flow from non-compliance.  What Regulation 18 does provide (at sub-paragraph 2) is what a state party should do if a ship is found not to be compliant with Regulation 14, and this includes factors that should be taken into account in mitigation when considering what sanction to apply. This is clear…

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