INTERNATIONAL MARITIME LAW
296. Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL Convention)
A mandatory requirement for national governments to introduce electronic information exchange between ships and ports came into effect from 8 April 2019, as part of a package of amendments under the revised Annex to the FAL Convention, adopted in 2016. A period of no less than 12 months for transition to the mandatory use of the systems shall be provided from the date of the introduction of such systems.
The documentation covered is specified under Art.2.1 as follows: General Declaration; Cargo Declaration; Ship’s Stores Declaration; Crew’s Effects Declaration; Crew List; Passenger List; Dangerous Goods Manifest; The document required under the Universal Postal Convention for mail; Maritime Declaration of Health; Security-related information as required under SOLAS reg.XI-2/9.2.2; Advance electronic cargo information for customs risk assessment purposes; Advanced Notification Form for Waste Delivery to Port Reception Facilities, when communicated to the IMO.
According to the Standard 1.3bis, Public Authorities had to establish systems for the electronic exchange of information by 8 April 2019. In addition, Recommended Practice 1.3quin encourages the use of the “single window” concept, to enable all the information required by public authorities in connection with the arrival, stay and departure of ships, persons and cargo, to be submitted via a single portal without duplication. The obligation to create systems for the electronic interchange of information established by Standard 1.3bis does not refer specifically to “single window”, so the Contracting Governments can use a system other than it to comply with this obligation too.
297. MARPOL, Annex VI
Under MARPOL Annex VI, Reg.14.1.3, a global 0.5% sulphur cap came into force on 1 January 2020, except for vessels using scrubbers, along with the carriage ban which requires that there be no non-compliant fuel on board after 1 March 2020. If a shipowner uses fuel with a high sulphur content after 1 January 2020, the shipowner will face penalties and detention at the next port in a state that is a party to MARPOL, Annex VI.
In the event of unavailability of compliant low-sulphur fuel oil (LSFO), shipowners are required to document and evidence all steps taken to achieve compliance (eg, source compliant fuel) (Reg.220.127.116.11). This requires the vessel to inform its flag state (Reg.18.2.4)