ICS and BIMCO laud IMO’s progress on environmental issues

Nov 03 2018

Both BIMCO and the ICS has welcomed significant progress made on some key environmental issues at last week’s MEPC meeting.

ICS Chairman, Esben Poulsson, commented: “While attention was rightly focused on preparations for the 2020 sulfur cap, IMO also made very good progress towards implementing the ambitious GHG reduction strategy agreed in April, adopting an action plan for the development of short term measures that will deliver additional CO2 reductions before 2023, plus longer term measures that will eventually achieve full de-carbonisation of international shipping.”

ICS was particularly pleased that IMO member states did not seek to reopen the historic agreement or the CO2 reduction targets previously agreed and that governments, in partnership with industry, are totally committed to making the GHG strategy a success.

“We were very pleased by the constructive role taken by China, whose proposals for organising future work formed a key part of the agreed IMO Action Plan,”Poulsson said.

While no concrete decisions were taken on specific new CO2 reduction measures, ICS noted broad support for the industry’s proposals for mandatory auditing of Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plans – the ‘Super SEEMP’ – and further improvements to the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) for future ships. Both are measures which ICS claimed  can be adopted very quickly.  

ICS said there was growing understanding amongst IMO members about the serious problems associated with ideas, such as publishing mandatory operational efficiency indicators or adopting mandatory speed limits (as opposed to speed optimisation measures), due to the potential for seriously distorting shipping markets and disrupting the efficiency of global trade. However, discussions on these ideas will continue at IMO next year.

Poulsson added: “With the action plan agreed by IMO last week, the way is now clear to make detailed proposals for specific CO2 reduction measures at the next MEPC in May. In co-operation with other industry associations ICS intends to come forward with detailed ideas, potentially including new and innovative measures for long term CO2 reduction and the development of zero CO2 fuels.”

ICS also welcomed the adoption by IMO this week of guidelines on implementation of the global 0.5% sulfur in fuel cap, which takes effect on 1st January, 2020, including a template for implementation planning as requested by the industry. Also welcomed was confirmation of the carriage ban of non-compliant fuel, which will take effect on 1st March, 2020, which was also proposed by the industry in order to give governments an additional tool to ensure a level playing field. 

“The commitment of ICS to full implementation in 2020 is demonstrated by the guidance on preparing for compliance which ICS recently distributed to shipowners, which we tabled at the MEPC last week and was well received,” said Poulsson.

“In view of the enormity of this major change it’s likely there’ll be some teething problems immediately before and after 1st January, 2020. Many industry associations, including ICS, have raised legitimate concerns about fuel availability, safety and compatibility of new fuels – a particular problem for those in the tramp trades. But if shipowners can demonstrate in good faith that they’ve done everything possible to follow an implementation plan – in line with the template IMO has now adopted – we hope that common sense will prevail in the event that safe and compliant fuels are not immediately available everywhere,”he said.   

There were still numerous complex issues that need addressing urgently by IMO, both at the MEPC next May and by the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) in December – to which the industry has already submitted a detailed paper calling on governments to better enforce fuel quality, especially as shipping companies will have to start ordering compliant fuels, including new blends, from the middle of next year.  

“But ICS is confident the sulfur cap will ultimately be a great success bringing real health and environmental benefits to coastal populations, which is what this major regulatory change is all about,” Poulsson concluded.  

BIMCO expressed satisfaction with several developments at MEPC 73.

Two key developments were the adoption of the ban from 1st March, 2020 on carriage of non-compliant fuel and the compromise reached on collecting data from the world fleet on fuel oil non-availability and quality without any delay in the implementation of the 2020 sulfur rules.

“We are overall very satisfied with the outcome of MEPC 73. The industry retains a fixed implementation date, which is important, while we at the same time address the safety concerns,” said Lars Robert Pedersen, BIMCO deputy secretary general.

IMO asked for proposals to establish necessary additions to the Global Integrated Shipping Information system (GISIS) to incorporate data from the experience ships gain on fuel oil availability and fuel quality.

“In BIMCO we will work diligently to craft proposals that will enable the shipping industry to harvest experience to reduce the risk of safety issues,” Pedersen said.

Work is already underway amongst interested parties who met during the MEPC meeting to sketch out the necessary elements that need to be addressed in a new proposal to IMO.

BIMCO has also been an advocate of a carriage ban of non-compliant fuel (unless the ship has a scrubber) and was also pleased to see it adopted with a start date of 1st March 2020.

“A carriage ban on non compliant fuel is critical in order for the member states to be able to enforce the sulfur regulation,” Pedersen added. 




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