North Sea ship emissions control area adopted at environment meeting
Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) - 53rd session 18-22 July 2005
The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime
Organization (IMO) adopted amendments to the IMO regulations on the prevention
of air pollution to establish a new special emissions control area for the North
Sea when it met for its 53rd session from 18-22 July. MEPC also agreed to develop
a new mandatory instrument to cover ship recycling and adopted four new particularly
sensitive sea areas (PSSAs).
MARPOL Annex VI
MEPC adopted amendments to the Regulations for the Prevention of Air Pollution
from Ships in MARPOL Annex VI, including one on the new North Sea SOx Emission
Control Area (SECA). The entry into force date for the North Sea SECA amendment
is expected to be 21 November 2006, with its full implementation 12 months later.
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.
The sulphur content of fuel oil used onboard ships operating in a SECA must
not exceed 1.5% m/m or, alternatively, ships must fit an exhaust gas cleaning
system or use other methods to limit SOx emissions.
The Committee noted
information gained from monitoring the worldwide sulphur content in fuel oils
for 2004 which gave a three-year (2002-2004) rolling average of sulphur content
in fuel oil worldwide of 2.67% m/m.
MEPC adopted Guidelines
on on-board exhaust gas-SOx cleaning systems; Survey Guidelines under the Harmonized
System for Survey and Certification for MARPOL Annex VI; Unified interpretations
of MARPOL Annex VI; and Guidelines for Port State Control under MARPOL
MEPC also adopted
amendments to update the NOx Technical Code.
MEPC approved Interim
Guidelines for Voluntary Ship CO2 Emission Indexing for Use
Review of Annex
The Committee agreed on the need to undertake a review of Annex VI and the NOx
Technical Code with a view to revising the regulations to take account of current
technology and the need to further reduce emissions from ships. MEPC instructed
the Sub-Committee on Bulk Liquids and Gases (BLG) to carry out the review by
2007, and specifically to:
available and developing techniques for the reduction of emissions of air
pollutants; review the relevant technologies and the potential for a reduction
of NOx emissions and recommend future limits for NOx emissions;
review technology and the need for a reduction of SOx emissions and justify
and recommend future limits for SOx emissions;
consider the need, justification and possibility of controlling volatile
organic compounds emissions from cargoes;
a view to controlling emissions of particulate matter (PM), study current
emission levels of PM from marine engines, including their size distribution
and quantity, and recommend actions to be taken for the reduction of PM
from ships. Since reduction of NOx and SOx emission is expected to also
reduce PM emission, estimate the level of PM emission reduction through
reducing NOx and PM emission limits for existing engines;
whether Annex VI emission reductions or limitations should be extended to
include diesel engines that use alternative fuels and engine systems/power
plants other than diesel engines; and
the texts of Annex VI, NOx Technical Code and related guidelines and recommend
MEPC 53 agreed that the IMO should develop, as a high priority, a new instrument
on recycling of ships with a view to providing legally binding and globally
applicable ship recycling regulations for international shipping and for recycling
facilities. MEPC 53 approved a draft Assembly resolution, for adoption by the
twenty-fourth session of the Assembly, setting out the Organization's commitment
to develop this new IMO instrument. MEPC 53 also agreed that the new IMO instrument
on ship recycling should include regulations for the design, construction, operation
and preparation of ships so as to facilitate safe and environmentally sound
recycling, without compromising the safety and operational efficiency of ships;
the operation of ship recycling facilities in a safe and environmentally sound
manner; and the establishment of an appropriate enforcement mechanism for ship
recycling (certification/reporting requirements). MEPC 53 further agreed that
the above-mentioned instrument should be completed in time for its consideration
and adoption in the biennium 2008-2009.
In its initial
consideration of issues related to the development of mandatory requirements
on ship recycling, MEPC 53 considered the prohibition of the use of certain
hazardous materials in the construction and equipment of ships; the design of
ships and ships' equipment to facilitate recycling and removal of hazardous
materials; the preparation, update and verification of inventories of potentially
hazardous materials on board ships; the possible need for a survey and certification
system, the development of a reporting system for ships destined for recycling;
and the need for the recycling facilities to be approved/licenced or properly
regulated in accordance with internationally developed and globally applied
MEPC 53 also agreed
that the development of a new legally-binding instrument on ship recycling should
not shift the attention of the stakeholders involved away from the important
work that is needed for the implementation of the IMO Guidelines on Ship
MEPC 53 also approved
amendments to the IMO Guidelines on Ship Recycling (Assembly resolution A.962(23))
with the view to their submission to the twenty-fourth session of the Assembly
The Committee also
agreed an MEPC circular Implementation of the IMO Guidelines on Ship Recycling
- "Gas-free-for-hot-work" certification which urges recycling
States to introduce mandatory requirements on procedures to be followed regarding
"gas-free-for-hot-work" certification in ship recycling operations
and to ensure that appropriate arrangements are in place to monitor and enforce
An MEPC circular on ship recycling was approved. It invites the ship recycling
States to make publicly available information about the point of contact for
the competent authorities responsible for issues related to ship recycling;
and Governments and all involved stakeholders to provide information to the
Organization on any experience gained in the implementation of the IMO Guidelines.
MEPC 53 endorsed
the recommendations agreed by the Joint ILO/IMO/BC Working Group on Ship Scrapping,
at its first meeting, regarding the work programme activities on ship recycling,
the promotion of the implementation of the ship recycling guidelines and joint
technical co-operation activities and nominated five Member States (Bangladesh,
Japan, Netherlands, Norway and the United States) to represent the Organization
in the second session of the Joint Working Group, which will be hosted by the
Basel Convention in Geneva in December 2005.
Sensitive Sea Areas
MEPC agreed to the designation of the following new Particularly Sensitive Sea
Areas (PSSAs), which were previously approved in principle:
of the existing Great Barrier Reef PSSA to include the Torres Strait (proposed
by Australia and Papua New Guinea).
Islands (proposed by Spain);
Galapagos Archipelago (proposed by Ecuador); and
Baltic Sea area (proposed by Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia,
Lithuania, Poland and Sweden)
finalised its review of the Guidelines for the Identification and Designation
of Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas and will submit the proposed revised
guidelines to the twenty-fourth session of the Assembly for adoption.
organisms in ballast water and sediments
MEPC adopted Guidelines for uniform implementation of the International Convention
for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention),
which was adopted in February 2004. The guidelines adopted cover ballast water
management equivalent compliance; approval of ballast water management systems;
ballast water management and development of ballast water management plans;
ballast water exchange and the Procedure for approval of ballast water management
systems that make use of Active Substances.
It was agreed that
the draft Guidelines for approval and oversight of prototype ballast water
treatment technology programmes would be considered for adoption at the
ballast water management systems
The Committee agreed that a dedicated GESAMP1 -Ballast Water
(GESAMP-BW) Technical Group on Active Substances would be established, when
needed, to review any proposals submitted for approval of Ballast Water Management
systems that make use of Active Substances. This group would then report to
the Organization on whether such a proposal presents unreasonable risk to the
environment, human health, property or resources in accordance with the criteria
specified in the Procedure for approval of ballast water management systems
that make use of Active Substances.
The GESAMP-BW Technical
Group will be financed through a fee scheme and paid for by the body or industry
requesting approval of a ballast water management system using Active Substances.
requires a review to be undertaken no later than three years before the first
effective date for compliance set out in the Convention in order to determine
whether appropriate technologies are available to achieve the standard. A Review
Group established at the session reviewed 14 different ballast water management
technologies and systems which could meet the ballast water performance standard
in the Convention2.
and systems were reviewed against criteria of safety, environmental acceptability,
practicability, cost effectiveness and biological effectiveness including an
assessment of socio-economic effects, specifically in relation to the developmental
needs of developing countries, particularly small island developing States.
It was agreed that
the information collected to date on the systems and technologies currently
being tested suggested they had the potential to meet the criteria and it was,
therefore, anticipated that final approval of the systems, following testing
and evaluation, could be achieved during 2008. The Review Group would meet again
at MEPC 55.
Eight countries (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Finland, Maldives, The Netherlands,
Spain and Syrian Arab Republic) have signed the Ballast Water Management Convention,
subject to ratification. Maldives became the first Contracting Party after depositing
its instrument of ratification on 22 June 2005. The Convention will enter into
force 12 months after ratification by 30 States, representing 35 per cent of
world merchant shipping tonnage.
The Committee adopted amendments to the Condition Assessment Scheme (CAS) for
oil tankers, to bring its cross-references into line with the revised MARPOL
Annex I which is expected to enter into force in January 2007.
The Committee also
approved an MEPC circular on Guidelines for port State control officers whilst
checking compliance with the Condition Assessment Scheme (CAS).
regulation on oil fuel tank protection approved
MEPC approved for future adoption a new MARPOL Annex 1 regulation on oil fuel
tank protection. The draft regulation is intended to apply to all ships with
an aggregate oil fuel capacity of 600 m3 and above delivered
on or after 1 August 2010. The draft regulation includes requirements for a
maximum capacity limitation of 2,500 m3 per oil fuel tank,
their protected location and performance standards for accidental oil fuel outflow,
as an alternative. 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.
of the International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and
Co-operation (OPRC Convention) and the OPRC-HNS (Hazardous and Noxious Substances)
The Committee approved Guidelines 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.
MEPC also approved
the development of a 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. The Committee also approved a directory of web links related
to oil spill preparedness and response including related research and development.
The Committee agreed to consider the development of amendments to MARPOL to
prevent the risk of pollution during oil transfer operations between ships at
sea. It agreed to include a high priority item on "amendments to MARPOL
Annex I for the Prevention of marine pollution during oil transfer operations
between ships at sea" in the work programme of the Sub-committee on Bulk
Liquids and Gases (BLG) with a target completion date of 2007.
It was recognized
that the technical and operational issues pertaining to the potential risk of
pollution during ship-to-ship transfer of oil cargoes at sea should take into
account the principles of international maritime law, including UNCLOS, and
the rights and obligations of coastal and flag States.
Member State Audit Scheme
MEPC approved the report of the third session of the Joint Maritime Safety Committee
(MSC)/MEPC/ Technical Co-operation Committee (TCC) Working Group on the Voluntary
IMO Member State Audit Scheme and forwarded its comments to the 23rd Extraordinary
session of the Council (17 to 18 November 2005), ahead of the 24th Assembly.
The MEPC approved 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 and had already been approved by the Council,
TCC and MSC.
The Committee also approved 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.
MEPC approved a Revised consolidated format for reporting alleged inadequacy
of port reception facilities and an MEPC circular on Waste reception
facility reporting requirements. The Committee also agreed to develop a
port reception facility database (PRFD) as a module of the IMO Global Integrated
Shipping Information System (GISIS).
The circulars and
the database are aimed at improving the rate of reporting alleged inadequacies
of reception facilities so that the problem can be tackled more effectively.
1Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine
Environmental Protection (GESAMP)
2Regulation D-2 Ballast Water Performance Standard - states
that ships conducting ballast water management shall discharge less than 10
viable organisms per cubic metre greater than or equal to 50 micrometres in
minimum dimension and less than 10 viable organisms per milliliter less than
50 micrometres in minimum dimension and greater than or equal to 10 micrometres
in minimum dimension; and discharge of the indicator microbes shall not exceed
the specified concentrations.
The indicator microbes, as a human health standard, include, but are not be
a. Toxicogenic Vibrio cholerae (O1 and O139) with less than 1 colony forming
unit (cfu) per 100 milliliters or less than 1 cfu per 1 gram (wet weight) zooplankton
b. Escherichia coli less than 250 cfu per 100 milliliters;
c. Intestinal Enterococci less than 100 cfu per 100 milliliters.
35/2005, 29 July 2005
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shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.
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