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Sub-Committee on Bulk Liquids and Gases (BLG), 15th session: 7 to 11 February 2011

March 11, 2011

Draft Guidelines for the control and management of ships' biofouling agreed by Sub-Committee
The first set of international measures to address biofouling from ships, to minimize the transfer of aquatic species, was agreed in draft form by the Sub-Committee on Bulk Liquids and Gases (BLG) when it met for its 15th session.
The Sub-Committee agreed a draft Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) resolution on Guidelines for the control and management of ships' biofouling to minimize the transfer of invasive aquatic species, for submission to MEPC 62 in July 2011 for adoption.
 
The guidelines, once adopted, will represent the first set of international measures for minimizing the translocation of invasive aquatic species through biofouling of ships adopted by IMO and will fill a gap by addressing the risks of introduction of invasive aquatic species through biofouling of ships - in other words, the adherence of sealife such as algae and molluscs to the ships’ hulls.
 
The International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships, 2001, which entered into force on 17 September 2008, prohibits the use of harmful organotins in anti-fouling paints used on ships and establishes a mechanism to prevent the potential future use of other harmful substances in anti-fouling systems. However, it does not address the actual issue of biofouling and transfer of species.  Other instruments such as the MARPOL and BWM Conventions also do not directly address the issue. 
 
Research indicates that biofouling continues to be a significant mechanism for species transfer by vessels.  A single fertile fouling organism has the potential to release many thousands of eggs, spores or larvae into the water with the capacity to found new populations of invasive species such as crabs, fish, sea stars, molluscs and plankton.  Minimizing biofouling will significantly reduce the risk of transfer.
 
The draft guidelines are intended to provide useful recommendations on general measures to minimize the risks associated with biofouling for all types of ships and are directed to Member Governments, shipmasters, operators and owners, shipbuilders, ship cleaning and maintenance operators, port authorities, ship repair, dry-docking and recycling facilities, ship designers, classification societies, anti-fouling paint manufacturers, suppliers and any other interested parties. 
 
To minimize the transfer of invasive aquatic species, a ship should implement biofouling management practices, including the use of anti-fouling systems and other operational management practices to reduce the development of biofouling.  The intent of such practices is to keep the ship's submerged surfaces, and internal seawater cooling systems, as free of biofouling as practical.  A ship following this guidance and minimizing macro-fouling would have a reduced potential for transferring invasive aquatic species via biofouling.
 
A separate guidance document, based on the Guidelines, provides advice relevant to owners and/or operators of recreational craft less than 24 metres in length, using terminology appropriate for that sector. Member Governments are invited to inform the Organization of any relevant biofouling regulations, management requirements or restrictions they are applying to international shipping.
 
Draft Revised Recommendations for entering enclosed spaces aboard ships agreed
The Sub-Committee finalized the draft Revised Recommendations for entering enclosed spaces aboard ships for submission to MSC 89 for approval, with a view to subsequent adoption by the 27th IMO Assembly in late 2011.  Work on the revised recommendations has been undertaken by a number of Sub-committees, coordinated by the Sub-Committee on Dangerous Goods, Solid Cargoes and Containers (DSC).
 
The revised recommendations update and expand on the recommendations previously issued in 1997 (resolution A.864(20) Recommendations for Entering Enclosed Spaces Aboard Ships).  The aim is to prevent accidental deaths of seafarers.
 
Development of amendments to SOLAS to mandate enclosed space entry and rescue drills
Meanwhile, the Sub-Committee started its work on the consideration of draft amendments to SOLAS to mandate enclosed space entry and rescue drills and invited Member Governments and international organizations to submit comments and proposals to IMO’ Sub-Committee on Dangerous good, Solid Cargoes and Containers (DSC 16).
The Sub-Committee also agreed draft Guidelines on tank entry for tankers using nitrogen as an inerting medium, for approval by IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 89).

Draft Guidelines for the carriage of blends of petroleum oil and bio-fuels agreed
The Sub-Committee agreed draft Guidelines for the carriage of blends of petroleum oil and bio-fuels for submission to MEPC 62 for approval.
 
The guidelines define bio-fuels as ethyl alcohol, fatty acid methyl esters (FAME), vegetable oils (triglycerides) and alkanes (C10-C26), linear and branched with a flashpoint of either 60°C or less or more than 60°C, as identified in chapters 17 and 18 of the IBC Code or the MEPC.2/Circular tripartite agreements. (Following the distribution of these guidelines, further bio-fuels identified as falling under the scope of the guidelines, will be recorded in a new annex  of the MEPC.2/Circular  dealing with bio-fuel /petroleum oil blends.) Bio-fuel blends are mixtures resulting from the blending of those products identified above with a petroleum oil.
 
The guidelines set out carriage and discharge requirements for bio-fuel blends containing 75% or more of petroleum oil (they are subject to Annex I of MARPOL); bio-fuel blends containing more than 1% but less than 75% of petroleum oil (subject to Annex II of MARPOL); and bio-fuel blends containing 1% or less petroleum oil (also subject to Annex II of MARPOL).
 
The guidelines note that the physical blending on board of petroleum oil and bio-fuels during a sea voyage to create new products should be prohibited as indicated in MSC-MEPC.2/Circ.8 Prohibition of Blending MARPOL Cargoes on Board During the Sea Voyage.
 
The Sub-committee also agreed a proposed draft text of a new SOLAS VI/5-2 regulation to make mandatory the prohibition of blending of bulk liquid cargoes during the sea voyage  , for submission to MSC 89, in May 2011, for consideration.  
 
Draft Ballast Water Management Convention guidance agreed
The Sub-Committee finalized the development of the Procedure for approving other methods of ballast water management in accordance with regulation B-3.7 of the Ballast Water Management Convention, which will be submitted to MEPC 62 for adoption through an MEPC resolution. Once adopted, the Procedure will open the door for new methods and concepts to prevent risks arising from the transfer of invasive species, provided that such methods will ensure at least the same level of protection of the environment and are approved in principle by the MEPC. As a part of the general effort towards effective implementation of the Ballast Water Management Convention, the Sub-Committee also finalized a draft Guidance document on scaling of ballast water management systems, which after approval by MEPC 62, will be disseminated as a BWM technical circular.
 
Work on the development of a BWM circular on ballast water sampling and analysis will continue through a correspondence group.
 
NOx Technical Code, 2008, draft amendments and guidelines agreed
The Sub-Committee agreed draft amendments to the NOx Technical Code 2008, relating to Engines not pre-certified on a test bed and NOx reducing devices, for submission to MEPC 62 for approval.
 
The Sub-Committee also agreed to a draft MEPC resolution on Guidelines addressing additional aspects to the NOx Technical Code 2008 with regard to particular requirements related to marine diesel engines fitted with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems and a   draft MEPC resolution on Guidelines for reception facilities under MARPOL Annex VI, for submission to MEPC 62 for adoption.
 
Work on draft guidelines for replacement engines not required to meet the Tier III limit, as required under regulation 13.2.2 of MARPOL Annex VI and draft guidelines called for under paragraph 2.2.5.6 of the NOx Technical Code 2008 (NOX-reducing devices) will be continued by a correspondence group, which will also consider what guidance, if any, should be developed for water as a primary control measure, emulsification, charge air humidification or direct injection; and what guidance, if any, should be developed for gas fuels, natural gas or other gases as well as NOx Technical Code calculation factors and specific issues relating to the testing of engines so fuelled.
 
IGF and IGC Codes further developed
Work progressed on the development on the International Code of Safety for ships using gases or other low flash-point fuels (IGF Code) and the revision of the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk (IGC Code).
 
A joint correspondence group was established to further develop both the IGF and IGC Codes.
 
Development of code for limited amounts in OSV continued
Work commenced on the development of a Code for the transport and handling of limited amounts of hazardous and noxious liquid substances in bulk in offshore support vessels and comments and proposals were invited for consideration at BLG 16.
 
Cleaning products evaluated
In the context of the work on evaluation of safety and pollution hazards of chemicals, decisions concerning the evaluation of products/cleaning additives and the classification and assignment of carriage requirements were made; and the timeline for the preparation of amendments to chapters 17, 18 and 19 of the IBC Code was agreed.