ECSA and ICS concerned over EU move

Nov 28 2014

The European Community Shipowners’ Association (ECSA) has raised concerns regarding data reliability and confidentiality of the future European monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) system.

EU co-legislators reached an informal agreement last week on the commission proposal for a regulation on the MRV of CO2 emissions of shipping.

The agreement paves the way for a European MRV system to become operational as of 2018, applying to ships above 5,000 gt arriving and departing from EU ports, regardless of their flag and ownership.

The regulation is meant to be a stepping stone towards a global MRV instrument, which is currently being discussed at the IMO.

Apart from data on CO2 emissions and distance sailed, the negotiators agreed that the regulation will also require ships to report cargo-related information.

“While the inclusion of cargo-related information allows the measurement of energy efficiency of vessels, there are concerns regarding data reliability and confidentiality, as well as reporting responsibilities and obligations,” said ECSA secretary general Patrick Verhoeven,adding that “this explains why IMO approaches the issue with great care.”

“At ECSA, we would have preferred the inclusion of cargo-related data to have simply been postponed until an agreement was reached at IMO. We do however acknowledge that the negotiators took some of our concerns into account and have strengthened provisions on international alignment. We will carefully assess these changes as soon as the full text of the agreement becomes available. We believe it is essential that industry is closely involved in any further steps, for instance on defining the metrics of cargo data.

“Most importantly, we call upon the European Commission to actively engage in a confidence-building exercise with non-European member states at IMO, to ensure that the common objective of establishing an international MRV instrument will be achieved,” he concluded.

The agreement on the EU MRV regulation still needs formal endorsement from the European Parliament and Council of Ministers. According to ECSA, this process will not entail further changes to the specifics of the agreement and is expected to be finalised by January next year.

Adding its weight behind the argument, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has also expressed disappointment that the EU is about to pre-empt negotiations taking place at the IMO on the collection of data on shipboard CO2 emissions, by unilaterally adopting a regional regulation, which will apply to non-EU flag vessels, as well as ships registered in the EU.

The industry fully supports the development of a global data collection system by IMO but the imminent adoption of a regional EU regime, which may not be compatible with whatever is agreed at IMO, will certainly complicate and perhaps jeopardise these delicate negotiations, the ICS said..

Agreement at IMO will require the support of non-EU nations with which the vast majority of the global fleet is registered, including developing countries, such as China and India for whom additional CO2 regulations are a politically sensitive issue.

ICS fully appreciates that the draft EU Regulation, which will not be fully implemented until 2018, contains text to the effect that the required data, which shipping will have to provide, can be amended by the European Commission to reflect the final outcome of any agreement at IMO. However, it is unclear whether the EC will be willing to fully realign the EU rules with the agreed international consensus.

ICS secretary general, Peter Hinchliffe said: “If the negotiations at IMO are to succeed it will be incumbent on the EU member states to explain that they are acting in good faith and that the outcome at IMO will be the product of a genuine global consensus achieved through negotiation rather than as a result of a pre-existing unilateral regional arrangement.”

The inclusion of data on cargo carried by ships in the EU Regulation will need to be handled with particular sensitivity because of the suspicion that the intent is for this to lead to the development of a mandatory operational efficiency index. This could be used by governments to impose financial penalties on ships, regardless of their actual fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, with the risk of a serious market distortion.

ICS said that it believed that it would be far better if the EU institutions delayed final adoption until after IMO has been given a proper chance to build on the good progress it has recently made towards delivering a global regulation on data collection.

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