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Web Alert: outcome of MEPC 70th session (24-28 October 2016)

News & Insights 3 November 2016

The 70th session of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 70) took place between 24 and 28 October 2016.

The 70th session of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 70) took place between 24 and 28 October 2016, with the following outcome:

Amendments to mandatory instruments

The MEPC adopted following amendments for entry into force on 1 March 2018:

  • MARPOL Annex I, appendix II - It was agreed that the obsolete sections from the IOPP Certificate Supplement, Form ‘B’, referring to dedicated Clean Ballast Tanks (CBTs), which were applied to oil tankers delivered before 1982, will be deleted to simplify the required entries. These amendments will apply to oil tankers from 1 March 2018. Existing Form ‘B’ of the Supplement to the IOPP Certificate will remain valid until the first renewal survey performed on or after 1 March 2018.
  • MARPOL Annex V, regulations 4, 6 & 10.3 and new appendix I & II - Under the current requirement, the discharge of cargo residues, cleaning agents or additives contained in hold washing water of any substance classified as HME is prohibited. However, there are no mandatory criteria to classify cargoes as either HME or non-HME. Amendments to Regulations 4 and 6 were adopted to mandate the requirement for the classification and declaration of (HME) substances for ships carrying solid bulk cargoes. A new appendix I has been added with the criteria for the classification of HME substances; and existing appendix I is renumbered as appendix II to amend the form of Garbage Record Book as required under regulation 10.3. The new format of Garbage Record Book, which will apply from 1 March 2018, is split in two parts: Part I (applies to all ships) to report handling of all garbage (except cargo residues); and Part II (applies to ships that carry solid bulk cargoes) to report handling of cargo residues.
  • MARPOL Annex VI - Amendments were adopted to introduce a new requirement for ships of 5,000 GT and above on international voyages to collect data related to fuel consumption as well as data relevant to energy efficiency of ships (such as distance travelled, service hours at sea and the design cargo capacity for cargo ships). 

The aggregated annual data will need to be reported by the ship-owner (or operator) to the flag state (or recognised organization) after the end of each calendar year. Having determined that the data has been reported in accordance with the requirements, the flag state (or recognised organisation) will issue a statement of compliance to the ship. Flag states will be required to subsequently transfer this data to an IMO ship fuel consumption database.

The requirements will enter into force on 1 March 2018 and the first reporting period will be for the 2019 calendar year. The Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) onboard ships will have to be updated to include the data collection and reporting scheme that applies to each ship.

Ballast Water Management Convention

Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC) is confirmed to enter into force on 8 September 2017.

At this session, four additional BWMS were granted type approval. This brings the current number of Type Approved BWMS to 69.

Further progress was made at this session with regard to the adoption of the revised G8 guidelines for approval of ballast water management systems (BWMS). The revised guidelines should be applied to all new type approvals as soon as possible, but not later than 28 October 2018. BWMS installed on ships after 28 October 2020 should be type approved under the new system.

There was an extended discussion on revising the implementation dates for the D-2 standard (installation of BWMS). Currently the retrofitting schedule (as revised by Resolution A.1088) specifies the first renewal survey of the IOPP Certificate on or after 8 September 2017. However, no consensus was reached and matter has been agreed for further consideration at MEPC 71.

The club understands that there is still confusion and concerns regarding the installation of BWMS. Members are advised to wait for the outcome of the next MEPC meeting, scheduled in May 2017, for further clarity.

Air pollution & Energy Efficiency

FO Availability Review - There were concerns raised with respect to the availability of fuel; however, it was decided that the schedule for the global fuel oil sulphur cap (0.50%) will remain unchanged, i.e. the sulphur content of any fuel used aboard ships shall not exceed 0.5% globally, with 0.1% in SECAs on or after 1 January 2020. The use of exhaust gas abatement technologies (such as a scrubber) is still a valid option.

This decision taken by IMO means that the global sulphur cap will be in line with the mandatory 0.5% sulphur cap for EU-waters; and some of the other localised low sulphur regimes. Members are reminded that, in accordance with the club rules, fines arising from a breach of low sulphur fuel regulations and other MARPOL requirements are only covered on discretionary basis. In such cases, members will be required to satisfy the board that all reasonable steps had been taken to avoid the event giving rise to the fine.

New NOx emission control areas (NECAs) - It was agreed to extend the existing Emission Control Areas of the Baltic Sea and the North Sea (including the English Channel) for nitrogen oxides. The application is subject to adoption at MEPC 71. If adopted, all vessels constructed on or after 1 January 2021 will need to run on Tier-III-approved engines when operating in these areas. It is expected that the new NECAs will likely increase the use of green shipping technology and alternative fuels such as LNG.

Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) review - It was agreed to retain the current requirements for Phase 2 starting from 1 January 2020. However, the committee decided to start a further review of EEDI Phase 3 requirements and its early implementation (move forward from 2025 to 2022) and the possible development of a Phase 4 (from 2025). The EEDI review, including review of the reduction rates and Ro-ro specific issues are postponed until MEPC 71.

Reduction of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions from ships

It was agreed that an initial but comprehensive IMO strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships should be adopted in 2018. A roadmap (2017 through to 2023) for the development of an IMO GHG strategy was approved. The strategy contains an action plan with measures and timelines, and will be revised over the period up to 2023.

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