Published: Dec 29, 2019

UAE Federal Transport Authority Issues Rules on Ship Fuel

Pursuant to Circular No. 11 of 2019 dated 22 December 2019 (the “Circular”), the UAE Federal Transport Authority – Land & Maritime (the “Authority”) has instructed that as of 1 January 2020, all fuel oil on board any UAE and foreign-flagged vessel entering UAE territorial waters must not have sulphur content “exceeding 0.50% m/m” (the “Compliant Fuel“).

Further, from 1 March 2020, UAE and foreign-flagged vessels entering UAE territorial waters “without an approved alternate means of compliance (such as Exhaust Gas Cleaning System)”, are prohibited from carrying fuel oil that is not a Compliant Fuel, unless such fuel complies “with the required emission levels”.



The Authority directed that from 1 January 2020, all vessels entering UAE territorial waters or calling UAE ports that carry fuel that is not a Compliant Fuel, must submit a Fuel Oil Non-Availability Report (“FONAR”) in the manner as follows:

Vessel’s Flag Manner of Submitting the FONAR
  • To the Authority by email (; and
  • Competent authority at the “foreign port of arrival
  • To the Authority by email ( “before departing from last port“;
  • and at least 48 hours before entering UAE territorial waters


Clients are advised that submission of the FONAR does not exempt the respective vessel from the requirement to carry Compliant Fuel. In this regard, vessels entering UAE territorial waters are recommended to obtain and carry Compliant Fuel at the earliest opportunity.

The Authority also “strongly recommends” that the Master of the vessel “prepares a Letter of Protest addressed to the local authorities in the port(s) where compliant fuel oil was not available”.


Retention of documents

The Circular also contains instructions on retention of documents, which is as follows:

Document / Item Retention Instructions
  • Kept on board the respective vessel for at least 36 months
Bunker Delivery
  • To contain information per Appendix V of MARPOL 73/78 Annex VI
  • Kept on board the respective vessel for at least 3 years after the respective fuel oil has been delivered on board;
  • Must be readily available for inspection; and
  • Accompanied by Representative Sample (MARPOL Delivered Sample)
Representative Sample

Delivered Sample)

  • Sealed and signed by the Master or Office-in-Charge of the vessel on completion of bunkering;
  • Retained “under the ship’s control until the fuel oil is substantially consumed”; and
  • Retained for at least 12 months

Final Remarks

The issuance of the Circular follows the International Maritime Organisation’s implementation of the 0.50% global sulphur cap for marine fuels, and will assist vessel owners and charterers to better plan their voyages to the UAE, a maritime and bunkering hub in the Middle East.

Both Omar Omar and Gabriel Yuen are available should you have any query on fuel oil compliance and charterparty negotiations.


Key Contacts:

Omar Omar
Partner, Head of Transport & Insurance – UAE

Gabriel Yuen
Associate, Transport & Insurance