MEPC 70 to discuss mandatory rule changes

Oct 07 2016

The IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) 70th session under the chairmanship of Arsenio Dominguez (Panama) is due to meet between 24th-28th October.

There are several major items on the agenda for this session, including the adoption of mandatory data collection system for fuel consumption under MARPOL Annex VI requirements, the IMO said in a preview.

Under the proposed draft amendments, ships of 5,000 gt and above will be required to collect consumption data for each type of fuel they use, as well as other, additional, specified data, including proxies for transport work.

The aggregated data will then be reported to the flag state after the end of each calendar year and the flag state, having determined that the data has been reported in accordance with the requirements, will issue a Statement of Compliance to the ship.

Flag states will be subsequently required to transfer this data to an IMO Ship Fuel Consumption Database.

IMO would be required to produce an annual report to the MEPC, summarising the data collected. Data would be presented anonymously so individual ship’s data would not be recognised.

In addition, the MEPC is expected to continue to build on the work the organisation has undertaken to address greenhouse gas emissions. To date, IMO is the only organisation to have adopted energy-efficiency measures that are legally binding across an entire global industry.

Energy-efficiency design standards for new ships and associated operational energy-efficiency measures for existing ships became mandatory in 2013, with the entry into force of relevant amendments to MARPOL Annex VI.

Data received by the IMO secretariat has identified that so far more than 1,900 ships have been certified as complying with the new energy efficiency design standards.

The committee will consider the report of a correspondence group on the status of technological developments relevant to implementing Phase 2 of the EEDI (Energy Efficiency Design Index) regulations. The energy-efficiency regulations require IMO to the review the status of technological developments and, if proven necessary, amend the time periods, the EEDI reference line parameters for relevant ship types and reduction rates.

Following a wide-ranging discussion on future work to further address greenhouse gas emissions from ships, at MEPC 69, the committee is expected to establish a working group at MEPC 70 for an in-depth debate on how to progress the matter.

The MEPC agreed in principle at its last session to take a decision at MEPC 70 on the implementation date for the global 0.5% m/m sulphur cap for fuel oil, based on the outcome of a review, which has been submitted to the session.

A Steering Committee consisting of 13 member states, one intergovernmental organisation and six international non-governmental ,has overseen the review.

The MEPC will also consider the designation of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea as emission control areas (ECA) for nitrogen oxides (NOx) under regulation 13 of MARPOL Annex VI.

All coastal state parties having a common interest in each particular area have co-sponsored the proposal, which would see both ECAs enter into effect on 1st January, 2021. Designation as a NOx ECA would require marine diesel engines to comply with the Tier III NOx emission limit when installed on ships constructed on or after 1st January, 2021 and operating in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea.

The MEPC will address draft amendments to the MARPOL Annex VI bunker delivery note relating to the supply of marine fuel oil to vessels, which have fitted alternative mechanisms to address sulphur emissions requirements.

The draft amendments to Appendix V of MARPOL Annex VI are intended to address situations where the fuel oil supplied does not meet low sulphur requirements, but has been supplied to a ship which is using ‘equivalent means’ (eg, abatement technology such as scrubbers) to reduce the sulphur oxide emissions from the ship in order to comply with MARPOL requirements.

The MEPC will also be asked to approve draft guidelines for on board sampling for the verification of the sulphur content of fuel oil used on board. The guidelines provide an agreed method for sampling to enable effective control and enforcement of liquid fuel oil used on board ships under the provisions of MARPOL Annex VI.

In addition, the committee will approve draft unified interpretations to the NOx Technical Code 2008 related to the approval of selective catalytic reduction systems to meet NOx standards.

MEPC 70 is also is expected to consider with a view to adoption:

- Amendments to MARPOL Annex I to update Form B of the supplement to the International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate, in relation to segregated ballast tanks.

- Amendments to MARPOL Annex V related to products, which are hazardous to the marine environment (HME) substances and Form of Garbage Record Book. 

Turning to the BWM Convention, which was ratified on 8th September, on the agenda is a review of the Guidelines for approval of ballast water management systems (G8), taking into account the outcome of work carried out in a correspondence group and an inter-sessional working group, which will meet during the week preceding MEPC 70.

The MEPC is also expected to consider matters under the agreed roadmap for the implementation of the BWM Convention, including the development of guidance on contingency measures and will also continue discussions on exemptions and exceptions to the BWM Convention, including proposals on the concept of ‘same risk area’.

Further ballast water management systems that make use of active substances will be considered for Basic and Final Approval, following consideration of the report of the 33rd meeting of the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environment Protection (GESAMP) Ballast Water Working Group. 

Finally, the revised section II of the Manual on Oil Pollution – Contingency Planning; and the draft Guide on oil spill response in ice and snow conditions will be submitted to MEPC 70 for approval

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