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Web Alert: Outcome of MEPC 69th session (18-22 April 2016)

17 May 2016

The IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), 69th session, was held from April 18-22 and progress was made on the following issues:
 
Amendments to mandatory instruments

  • MARPOL Annex II, appendix I, related to the revised GESAMP hazard evaluation procedure;
  • MARPOL Annex IV, establishing the date on which regulation 11.3 in respect of the Baltic Sea Special Area shall take effect, i.e.:
    a) On 1 June 2019, for new passenger ships;
    b) On 1 June 2021, for existing passenger ships other than those specified in paragraph 1.3; and
    c) On 1 June 2023, for existing passenger ships enroute directly to or from a port located outside the special area and to or from a port located east of longitude 28˚10' E within the special area that do not make any other port calls within the special area.

The MEPC resoltion adopting the effective dates encourages member governments, industry groups and other stakeholders to comply immediately on a voluntary basis with the Special Area requirements for the Baltic Sea Special Area. In the special area, the discharge of sewage from passenger ships will be prohibited unless the ship has an approved sewage treatment plant in operation that meets the applicable additional effluent standards for nitrogen and phosphorus in accordance with the resolution MEPC.227 (64).

  • MARPOL Annex VI, related to record requirements for operational compliance with NOx Tier III emission control areas.
  • NOx Technical Code 2008 related to the testing of gas-fuelled and dual fuel engines (will apply to engines installed on or after 1 September 2017).

Members are recommended to refer to MEPC69/WP.7 and MEPC69/WP.7/Add.1 for additional information 
 

Ballast Water Management Convention

No countries ratified the Convention during this MEPC meeting,however, Peru (0.04% of world tonnage) and Finland (0.14% of world tonnage) are expected to ratify in the near future. Currently, the Convention is ratified by 49 states, representing 34.79% of the world merchant shipping tonnage. Additional 0.21% ratifications are required for the Convention to come into force.

Progress was made at this session with regard to the review of the G8 guidelines for approval of ballast water management systems (MEPC.174 (58)). At this session, three final approvals were granted to Ballast Water Management Systems using active substances. The number of systems which can be actually installed on board, i.e. which are type-approved by the Administration, including the systems not using active substances, has reached 65 in total. The work will continue by the correspondence group which will address the ballast water performance standards.

MEPC also approved draft amendments to regulation B-3 (for aligning with Resolution A.1088). Members are recommended to refer to MEPC69/WP.8 for additional information.

Air pollution & Energy Efficiency

Fuel oil availability

The committee received a progress report on the review of fuel oil availability as required by regulation 14.8 of MARPOL Annex VI. The MARPOL regulation limiting sulphur oxide emissions from ships provides for a 0.50% global cap to be implemented on 1 January 2020, but also requires a review of the availability of the required fuel oil to be carried out and concluded by 2018. It was agreed in principle that a final decision on the date of the implementation of the 0.5% sulphur limit should be taken at the next MEPC 70, so that the Maritime Administrations and industry can prepare and plan accordingly.
 
Fuel oil quality

The MEPC encouraged the fuel oil supply industry to develop draft best practice for fuel oil providers and submit this best practice to the committee for consideration at a future session. However, it was decided that the best practice guidance for member states should not go beyond the requirement of MARPOL Annex VI by imposing obligations that are not included in the Annex. 
 
Energy efficiency of ships

A correspondence group that has gone through the status on the technological development for EEDI ships reported to the MEPC that the regulations were sufficient. However, the committee decided that the correspondence group should continue its work until the next session and focus especially on ro-ro ships and ice factors, where existing regulations have to some extent proven inappropriate.Members are recommended to refer to MEPC69/WP.9 for additional information.
 

Further technical and operational measures for enhancing the energy efficiency of international shipping

The MEPC approved mandatory requirements for ships (of 5,000gt and above) to record and report data on their fuel consumption on an annual basis. The mandatory data collection system is intended to be the first (of the three-step) process in which analysis of the data collected would provide the basis for an objective, transparent and inclusive policy debate in the MEPC. This would allow a decision to be made on whether any further measures are needed to enhance energy efficiency and address greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping. If so, proposed policy options would then be considered.
Members are recommended to refer to MEPC69/WP.10 for additional information.
 
Reduction of GHG emissions from ships

Following the outcomes of the United Nations Climate Change Conferences held in in Paris in December 2015, the committee recognised the role of IMO in mitigating the impact of greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping. Following a wide-ranging discussion on target setting of the greenhouse gas reduction, the committee agreed to establish a working group at MEPC 70 for an in-depth debate on how to progress the matter.
 
Identification and Protection of Special Areas and PSSAs

The MEPC designated the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, located between the islands of the Philippines and North Borneo, as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA), in principle, with a view to final designation at MEPC 71 in 2017.
 
Revision of the Manual on Port Reception Facilities

The MEPC approved the manual ‘Port Reception facilities – How to do it’ and subject to final editorial refinements, it will be published through the IMO Publishing Service.
 
Garbage record book

The MEPC approved draft amendments to the form of Garbage Record book and agreed in principle to the creation of a new garbage category for electronic waste generated onboard (e-waste) and invited proposals to clearly define such waste at the next session.

Discharge of harmful cargo hold wash water

The proposal to extend the application of MEPC.1/Circ.810 was not approved. As a result, the temporary measure of allowing the discharge of harmful cargo residue and cargo hold washing water outside of the special areas (MARPOL Annex V) was confirmed to discontinue. Members should note that in accordance with MARPOL Annex V Reg. 4.1.3 and 6.1.2, no cargo residues or cargo hold wash water containing substances classified as HME are permitted to be discharged overboard. The crew are required to be familiar with the current garbage disposal requirements and Masters are encouraged to report to IMO on any alleged inadequacies of port reception facilities, in accordance with the procedures set out in MEPC.1/Circ.834.
 
Full text of the IMO press briefing can be accessed through this link.