North Sea ship emissions control area set to be adopted at environment meeting
Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) - 53rd session 18-22 July 2005
The Marine Environment
Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO)
is set to adopt amendments to the regulations on air pollution to establish
a new special emissions control area for the North Sea when it meets for its
53rd session from 18 to 22 July. Other issues on the agenda include ship recycling
and the designation of new particularly sensitive sea areas.
MARPOL Annex VI
The MEPC is expected to adopt amendments to the Regulations for the Prevention
of Air Pollution from Ships in MARPOL Annex VI, including the proposed North
Sea SOx Emission Control Area (SECA). The entry into force date for the amendment
is anticipated to be November 2006, with a 12 month period after that date before
full implementation of the North Sea SECA.
MARPOL Annex VI
entered into force on 19 May 2005 and sets limits on sulphur oxide (SOx) and
nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from ship exhausts and prohibits deliberate emissions
of ozone-depleting substances.
The Annex establishes
a global cap of 4.5 percent by mass (% m/m) on the sulphur content of fuel oil,
whereas the sulphur content of fuel oil used onboard ships must not exceed 1.5%
m/m in a SECA. Alternatively, ships must fit an exhaust gas cleaning system
or use other methods to limit SOx emissions. Draft Guidelines on on-board
exhaust gas-SOx cleaning systems have been developed and are expected to
be approved by the MEPC at this session, along with unified interpretations
of MARPOL Annex VI.
The MEPC will also
review the draft Guidelines on a CO2 Indexing Scheme and the outcome of the
Technical Workshop on a Greenhouse Gases Indexing Scheme, to be held at IMO
on 15 July.
regulation on oil fuel tank protection
The MEPC is expected to consider for future adoption a new MARPOL Annex 1 regulation
on oil fuel tank protection. The draft regulation on Oil Fuel Tank Protection
is intended to apply to all ships delivered on or after 1 August 2010 with an
aggregate oil fuel capacity of 600 m3 and above. The draft regulation includes
requirements for the protected location of the fuel tanks and performance standards
for accidental oil fuel outflow, as an alternative. A maximum capacity limitation
of 2,500 m3 per oil fuel tank is included in the draft regulation. The draft
regulation also requires Administrations to consider general safety aspects,
including the need for maintenance and inspection of wing and double bottom
tanks or spaces, when approving the design and construction of ships in accordance
with the regulation.
The MEPC will consider the report of the three-day intersessional meeting of
the Working Group on Ship Recycling to be held during the week before MEPC 53
and the report of the Joint ILO/IMO/Basel Convention* Working Group on Ship
Scrapping which was held at IMO from 15 to 17 February 2005.
At its last session,
the MEPC, having considered the need for developing mandatory measures for ship
recycling, agreed that certain parts of the IMO Guidelines on Ship Recycling
might be given mandatory effect. The possible development of a new mandatory
regime with a view to providing legally binding and globally applicable ship
recycling regulations is therefore expected to be given further consideration
at this session.
organisms in ballast water and sediments
The MEPC is expected to adopt the guidelines for uniform implementation of the
International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water
and Sediments (BWM Convention). The BWM Convention was adopted in February 2004.
The guidelines were finalized during the 9th session of the Bulk Liquids and
Gases Sub-Committee and the intersessional meeting of the Ballast Water Working
Group held from 11 to 15 July at IMO Headquarters.
The MEPC is expected
to focus on the adoption of the draft Guidelines for approval of ballast
water management systems and the draft Procedure for approval of active
The MEPC is also
expected to establish a Review Group to determine whether appropriate technologies
are available to achieve the ballast water performance standard required by
regulation D-2 Ballast Water Performance Standard of the BWM Convention.
The review will include an assessment of safety considerations, environmental
acceptability of the new technologies, their practicability, cost and biological
effectiveness and the socio-economic effects of such technologies, particularly
on small island developing States.
Implementation of International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness,
Response and Co-operation (OPRC Convention) and the OPRC-HNS (Hazardous and
Noxious Substances) Protocol
The OPRC-HNS Technical Group will meet the week prior to MEPC and will consider
a number of issues that are expected to be put forward for approval by the Committee.
In particular it is expected that the following items will be considered for
approval by MEPC 53:
MEPC will also consider
the report of the third meeting of the OPRC-HNS Technical Group.
for accreditation or approval of OPRC training organizations and experts that
could be adopted by national authorities as a quality assurance mechanism
for the delivery of OPRC training courses; and
- A newly developed
web page which will provide information and guidance on preparedness and response
as well as current information on research with respect to marine oil spills.
Sea AreasExtension of the
existing Great Barrier Reef PSSA to include the Torres Strait (proposed by Australia
and Papua New Guinea).
(proposed by Spain);
Archipelago (proposed by Ecuador); and
the Baltic Sea
area (proposed by Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland
The MEPC is expected to consider the designation of the following new Particularly
Sensitive Sea Areas (PSSAS), which have already been approved in principle:
MEPC is expected to finalise its review of the PSSA guidelines with a view
to submitting proposed revised guidelines to the Assembly in November-December
IMO Member State Audit Scheme
The MEPC is expected to consider the report of the third session of the Joint
Maritime Safety Committee (MSC)/MEPC/ Technical Co-operation Committee (TCC)
TCC Working Group on the Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme and to submit
its comments to the 23rd Extraordinary session of the Council (17 to 18 November
2005), ahead of the 24th Assembly. The draft Framework for the Voluntary
IMO Member State Audit Scheme, the draft Procedures for the Voluntary
IMO Member State Audit Scheme and the related draft Assembly resolution,
all of which were developed by the Joint Working Group, have already been
approved by the Council, TCC and MSC and will be considered by the MEPC with
a view to giving its own approval. The Committee will also consider for approval
the draft Code for the Implementation of Mandatory IMO instruments,
together with its associated draft Assembly resolution, which was developed
by the Sub-Committee on Flag State Implementation (FSI) and approved by the
MSC at its 80th session in May 2005.
The MEPC will be invited to consider the outcome of the FSI Sub-Committee
on port reception facilities-related matters, including the approval of a
revised consolidated format for reporting alleged inadequacy of port reception
facilities and the development of an internet-based port reception facility
database. The Committee will also be invited to develop its future action
plan on the inadequacy of port reception facilities with the aim of tackling
the problem in an effective and efficient way.
*International Labour Organization (ILO)/IMO/Conference of Parties to the
Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes
and their Disposal
31/2005, 15 July 2005
IMO - the International Maritime Organization - is the United Nations specialized
agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the
prevention of marine pollution by ships.
Web site: www.imo.org
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