Australian consultation on low sulphur fuel

We are the Australian Government agency responsible for implementing the 1 January 2020 low sulphur fuel regulation as set out in the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).

To aid in implementing this regulation, we have engaged with stakeholders on the implementation of the sulphur limit. Consultation is occurring through roundtable discussions and direct consultation.

Sulphur roundtable sessions

These discussions have provided opportunities to hear about the IMO’s work on implementing the 1 January 2020 regulation. The roundtables helped direct Australia’s contribution to this work, raise issues and discuss solutions with the industry sectors preparing for the transition.

It is important to discuss and share information as it becomes available. If you are interested in being involved in discussions on the Australian implementation of this regulation, contact us.

The outcomes from previous roundtables are reported below.

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A brief history


The IMO adopted amendments to Annex VI of MARPOL, setting progressively more stringent regulations to control emissions from ships, including for sulphur oxides (SOx). As part of these amendments, the IMO agreed that from 1 January 2020, the sulphur content in fuel oil used by ships must be less than 0.5 per cent m/m, subject to a review of the global availability of low sulphur fuel.


The required review was commissioned by the IMO and assessed the global and regional demand for, and supply of, compliant fuel oil, drawing on industry and stakeholder input. The review was completed in 2016 and found that sufficient compliant fuel oil would be available to meet the 2020 date.

IMO members agreed to retain the 1 January 2020 implementation date for the 0.5 per cent m/m sulphur content limit in fuel oil. This is a reduction from the current limit of 3.5 per cent m/m, which has been in effect since 1 January 2012.

This new limit aims to reduce the impacts of sulphur oxide emissions on the environment and human health, particularly for people living in port cities and coastal communities.

Last updated: 

Tuesday 14 November 2023