This regulation only applies to tankers. However, this regulation also applies to gas carriers only if the types of loading and containment system allow safe retention of non-methane VOCs on board or their safe return ashore.
There are two aspects of VOC control within this regulation. In the first, regulations 15.1 – 15.5 and 15.7, control on VOC emitted to the atmosphere in respect of certain ports or terminals is achieved by a requirement to utilize a vapour emission control system (VECS). Where so required, both the shipboard and shore arrangements are to be in accordance with MSC/Circ.585 “Standards for vapour emission control systems”. A Party may choose to apply such controls only to particular ports or terminals under its jurisdiction and only to certain sizes of tankers or cargo types. Where such controls are required at particular ports or terminals, tankers not so fitted may be accepted for a period of up to 3 years from the implementation date. Where VECS is so mandated the relevant Party is to notify IMO of that requirement and its date of implementation. As of October 2010 no notifications had been advised.
The second aspect of this regulation, regulation 15.6, requires that all tankers carrying crude oil have an approved and effectively implemented ship specific VOC Management Plan covering at least the points given in the regulation. Guidelines in respect of the development of these plans is given by resolution MEPC.185(59) and related technical information on systems and operation of such arrangements is given by circular MEPC.1/Circ.680.