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Web alert: environmental provisions adopted during MEPC 68th session (11-15 May 2015)

21 May 2015

The IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) held its 68th session at IMO Headquarters in London from 11 to 15 May 2015.

During the session the MEPC adopted the environment-related provisions of the International Code for ships operating in polar waters (Polar Code) and associated amendments to MARPOL Annexes I, II, IV and V which are scheduled to enter into force on 1 January 2017.

A circular on guidance for issuing revised certificates, manuals & record books under Annexes I, II and V of MARPOL for compliance with environment-related provisions of the Polar Code was approved.

Further information on the adopted environmental provisions of the Polar Code can be accessed through the IMO press release.

The Committee also adopted amendments to MARPOL Annex I, regulation 12, revising the provisions related to tanks for oil residues (sludge). These amendments update and revise the regulation, expanding on the requirements for discharge connections and piping, to ensure oil residues are properly disposed of. 

Among other matters, the MEPC discussed the implementation of the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM) Convention, which aims to prevent the introduction of invasive aquatic species into their non-native marine ecosystems.

The Committee did take up energy-efficiency requirements, adopting amendments to the 2014 guidelines on survey and certification of the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) and the 2013 interim guidelines - for determining minimum propulsion power and for the level one minimum power lines assessment for bulk carriers and tankers.

Revisions to air pollution guidance and requirements were approved. The amendments relate to carbon dioxide (CO2) and sulphur dioxide (SO2) emission testing for exhaust gas, testing of gas-fuelled engines and dual fuel engines for nitrogen oxides (NOx) levels, and particular requirements related to marine diesel engines fitted with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) Systems.

A resolution to extend the eastern limit of the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) to include the southwest part of the Coral Sea was agreed by MEPC during the meeting. According to IMO, this remote ocean ecosystem provides refuge to a wide range of threatened, migratory and commercially valuable species.

During the meeting, MEPC decided on the definition of black carbon; on hazardous materials guidelines for the ship recycling convention; to re-establish the fuel oil quality correspondence group; and to initiate a sulphur review in 2015.

Full text of the IMO press briefing can be accessed through following link.