IMO: December 2003 meeting to consider proposals for an accelerated single-hull tanker phase-out
Protection Committee (MEPC) - 49th session: 14-18 July 2003
An extra session
of IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) will be convened in
December to consider the adoption of proposals for an accelerated phase-out
scheme for single hull tankers, along with other measures including an extended
application of the Condition Assessment Scheme (CAS) for tankers.
The proposed amendments
to MARPOL 73/78 were discussed during the week-long forty-ninth session of the
Committee, ending 18 July.
Speaking on behalf
of the Secretary-General Mr. William O'Neil at the close of the session, Assistant
Secretary-General Mr. Efthimios Mitropoulos said that the outcome of the intense
negotiations on the issue was successful in general terms, although the decisions
made were not final, pending the extra MEPC session in December.
Although a number
of points within the overall context of the proposed draft amendments to MARPOL
were left in square brackets (awaiting final decision), "the outcome of
this week's work shows the emerging trends on which Governments, the industry
and, as necessary, the Secretariat should work between now and December to pave
the way for consensus decisions to be made at the end of the day," Mr.
"We should, therefore, be hopeful that the good spirit of co-operation,
which prevailed during the week, will also be demonstrated in December so that
IMO would be able, once again, to do what it was founded to do, that is to encourage
and facilitate the adoption of global standards to regulate shipping, and that
it does so on the basis of realistic, pragmatic and well-balanced consideration
of items on its agenda," he added.
At its 49th regular session, the MEPC also finalized a new proposed draft convention
on the management of ballast water and agreed ship recycling guidelines.
The MEPC met at
IMO headquarters in London, from 14-18 July, under the chairmanship of Mr. Andreas
tankers - proposals to amend MARPOL 73/78
The MEPC held extensive discussions in a Working Group and in plenary in relation
to proposals to amend MARPOL 73/78, submitted by all the fifteen Member States
of the European Union, calling for further acceleration of the phase-out timetable
for single-hull tankers, an immediate ban on the carriage of heavy grades of
oil in single-hull tankers and for the Condition Assessment Scheme (adopted
in 2001 in the wake of the 1999 Erika incident) to be applied to tankers of
15 years of age and above.
The outcome of
the discussions was as follows, with further discussion scheduled for the extra
MEPC session in December, which will consider, with a view to adoption, the
proposed amendments to MARPOL 73/78:
MEPC agreed on an accelerated phase-out for Category 1 tankers (pre-MARPOL
tankers). This would bring forward the final phasing-out date for these
tankers to 2005, from 2007.
MEPC discussed the proposal to bring forward the phasing-out of category
2 and 3 tankers (MARPOL tankers and smaller tankers) to 2010, from 2015.
While there was substantial support in principle to the 2010 deadline, there
was also concern relating to the phase-out of tankers of less than 20 years
old in 2010 that this would lead to. There was a suggested proposal, for
further consideration in December, which could see the operational life
of these tankers extending to 2015 or until the ship reaches a specified
age (e.g. 20, 23 or 25 years), subject to satisfactory results from the
Condition Assessment Scheme (CAS).
MEPC agreed, in principle, that the CAS should be applied to single-hull
tankers of 15 years, or older (as against being applicable to all Category
1 vessels continuing to trade after 2005 and all Category 2 vessels after
2010.) The MEPC agreed to circulate the proposed CAS amendments with a view
to consideration for adoption at the extra session in December.
MEPC noted the proposed consequential enhancements to the CAS scheme which
would be needed. The Committee further noted that in order to adequate CAS
to future challenges such as its possible application to double-hull tankers
or enhanced requirements for tankers carrying heated cargoes, intensive
work is needed. It noted with appreciation the offer by the United Kingdom
would host an informal meeting on these issues with industry and interested
Administrations, prior to the extra MEPC meeting in December.
MEPC considered the proposed draft regulation on the carriage of Heavy Grades
of Oil (HGO) in single-hull tankers, which would ban the carriage of HGO
in single-hull tankers. The MEPC agreed on the need for further technical
discussion at the December meeting of the proposed new regulation 13H on
Prevention of oil pollution when carrying heavy grades of oil, in particular
in relation to the physical properties of heavy grades of oil (including
their definition, in relation to density and/or kinematic viscosity) and
in pollution combating.
MEPC noted the differing views on the issue of tankers carrying HGO engaged
in domestic trades, regarding possible exemptions for tankers on local voyages
and agreed this was a policy matter for a decision later.
MEPC agreed that the Informal Group of Experts should be re-established
to review the impact of the proposals discussed at this session.
of the Committee (MEPC 50)
The extra session of the Committee will be held as MEPC 50 on 1 and 4 December
2003, during the 23rd IMO Assembly, which meets from 24 November to 5 December
a West European PSSA
The MEPC approved in principle a proposal for Belgium, France, Ireland, Portugal,
Spain and the United Kingdom to designate a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area
(PSSA) to cover a wide sea area west of these countries, subject to the area
being reduced to bring the easterly line off the Shetlands Isles to 00 longitude.
The States proposing
the measure withdrew an earlier proposal to ban carriage of heavy fuel oil in
single hull tankers in the PSSA and instead agreed that the Associated Protective
Measures linked to the PSSA would, at this stage, concern a proposed 48-hour
reporting rule for ships carrying certain cargoes entering the PSSA. This measure
would be referred to the Sub-Committee on Safety of Navigation (NAV), meeting
mid-2004, for consideration.
had raised potential legal issues relating to the application of the PSSA were
invited to refer these concerns to the Legal Committee, which is scheduled to
meet in October 2003 and April 2004.
The Western European
Waters PSSA will be considered by the Committee for potential final designation
at the regular session of MEPC in October 2004.
Reef PSSA extended
The MEPC approved in principle a proposal from Australia and Papua New Guinea
for the extension of the Great Barrier Reef PSSA to cover Torres Strait Region,
together with the associated protective measures, subject to clarification on
the compulsory pilotage measures at NAV 50 in 2004. The extended PSSA will be
expected to be designated at a regular session of MEPC in October 2004.
Reserve PSSA adopted
The MEPC adopted the Paracas National Reserve, Peru, as a PSSA.
the Paracas PSSA, there are now six designated PSSAs - the others being: the
Great Barrier Reef, Australia; the Sabana-Camagüey Archipelago in Cuba;
Malpelo Island, Colombia; Around the Florida Keys, United States; and the Wadden
Sea (Denmark, Germany, Netherlands).
management - draft convention
The MEPC agreed a finalized draft of the proposed International Convention for
the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments, and agreed
to hold a diplomatic conference from 9 to13 February 2004 to adopt the Convention
in accordance with the agreed timetable already approved by the Council.
The Committee conducted
an article-by-article review of the draft taking into account the report of
the second intersessional meeting of the Ballast Water Working Group.
The problem of
harmful aquatic organisms in ballast water was first raised at IMO in 1988 and
since then the MEPC, together with MSC and technical sub-committees, has been
dealing with the issue. In order to help developing countries understand the
problem and monitor the situation, IMO is implementing the GEF/UNDP/IMO
Global Ballast Water Management Programme (GloBallast) and has provided
technical support and expertise.
The problem of
invasive species is largely due to the expanded trade and traffic volume over
the last few decades. The effects in many areas of the world have been devastating.
Quantitative data show the rate of bio-invasions is continuing to increase at
an alarming rate, in many cases exponentially, and new areas are being invaded
all the time. Volumes of seaborne trade continue overall to increase and the
problem may not yet have reached its peak.
The MEPC approved draft Guidelines on Ship Recycling and the associated Assembly
resolution, for submission to the 23rd Assembly later this year for adoption.
The draft guidelines
recognize that, while the principle of ship recycling may be sound, the working
practices and environmental standards in the yards often leave much to be desired.
While ultimate responsibility for conditions in the yards has to lie with the
countries in which they are situated, other stakeholders must be encouraged
to contribute towards minimising potential problems related to health, safety
and protection of the environment in the recycling facilities.
The guidelines will give advice to all stakeholders in the recycling process,
including administrations of ship building and maritime equipment supplying
countries, flag, port and recycling states, as well as intergovernmental organizations
and commercial bodies such as shipowners, ship builders, repairers and recycling
The Committee also agreed a programme of future work on ship recycling issues.
The MEPC noted
that technical guidelines for specific disposal operations and for specific
wastes which may be relevant to ship recycling activities have been developed
under the Basel Convention, and that existing ILO Conventions, Recommendations
and Codes of Practice can be applied to deal with numerous occupational safety
and health hazards and worker protection issues arising from ship recycling
operations. The Committee agreed to recommend to the International Labour Organization
and the Secretariat of the Basel Convention that relevant information be made
available on their websites.
The MEPC finalised a draft Assembly resolution on IMO Policies and Practices
related to reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Ships, for submission
to the Assembly in November-December.
Entry into force
of MARPOL Annex VI
The MEPC noted that the requirements for entry into force of Annex VI of MARPOL
73/78 on Regulations for prevention of pollution by air pollution from ships
(adopted in 1997) were nearly satisfied. As of 20 June 2003, Annex VI of MARPOL
73/78 has been ratified by 11 States representing well over 50% of the gross
tonnage of the world's merchant shipping and ratifications by only four more
States are required to satisfy the conditions for entry into force: ratification
by at least 15 states with not less than 50% of world merchant shipping tonnage.
Japan, the Netherlands and Spain stated that their national procedures for the
ratification of the Protocol of 1997 to MARPOL 73/78 have reached the final
stage and they would be able to deposit their instrument of ratification for
Annex VI shortly. This would mean that the Annex might satisfy the entry into
force conditions before the end of year 2003, and would enter into force twelve
The following MEPC resolutions were adopted:
resolution on Tripartite Agreement
resolution on Revised Guidelines for the approval of the alternative methods
of design of oil tankers under regulation 13F(5) of Annex I of MARPOL 73/78
resolution on Guidelines for on-board NOx verification procedure
MEPC resolution on revised Guidelines and specifications for pollution control
equipment for machinery space bilges of ships
resolution on Revised Guidelines and specifications for oil discharge monitoring
and control systems for oil tankers
resolution on Guidelines for inspections of ships' anti-fouling systems
of MARPOL to FPSOs and FSUs
The MEPC approved an MEPC circular on Guidelines for the application of MARPOL
Annex I requirements to FPSOs and FSUs.
of MARPOL Annex IV (Sewage)
The MEPC agreed an MEPC Circular on the implementation of the revised Annex
IV Regulations for the prevention of pollution by sewage from ships of MARPOL
IV will enter into force on 27 September 2003. However, Parties to MARPOL have
been urged to implement the revised Annex IV, which was approved by the MEPC
at its 44th session, with a view to its adoption after the entry into force
of the original Annex IV.
Annex will be put forward for adoption at the MEPC's March session in 2004,
but the revised Annex IV would only become effective in July 2005. There would
be a possibility of confusion as to which text, either the original or revised
Annex IV, should be applied among Parties to the Annex.
reconfirms that Parties be recommended to apply the revised Annex IV upon the
entry into force of the existing Annex IV.
in order to avoid confusion among Parties to Annex IV, any Parties to Annex
IV which may not be able to modify their national legislation to implement the
revised Annex IV until its entry into force in July 2005 as expected, are requested
not to apply, for the purpose of port State control, requirements of the original
Annex IV to ships of foreign flag falling under those categories of ships which
will be exempted from application in the revised Annex IV; and not to apply
any punitive measures for such ships, during the transitional period from the
date of entry into force of the original Annex IV until the date of entry into
force of the revised Annex IV.
the revised text of MARPOL Annex I and Annex II
The new versions of Annex I and Annex II of the MARPOL Convention, were approved,
in principle, together with the proposed new four-category categorization system
for noxious and liquid substances. The revised texts of both Annexes will be
reconfirmed at MEPC 51 in March 2004 and will be considered for adoption at
MEPC 52 in October 2004.
The MEPC adopted two sets of guidelines relating to the 2001 International Convention
on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships: Guidelines for brief
sampling of anti-fouling systems and Guidelines for inspections of ships anti-fouling
were developed by the Sub-Committee on Flag State Implementation.
the AFS Convention on 8 July 2003; Norway was expected to ratify the AFS Convention
soon; and Greece and Spain are both in the process of ratifying the AFS Convention
and expect the Convention to be ratified in towards the end of 2003. For entry
in to force, the AFS Convention requires ratification by 25 States representing
25% of the world's merchant shipping tonnage.
of the OPRC Convention and the OPRC-HNS Protocol
The MEPC approved revised guidance document on bioremediation; the Terms of
Reference for an OPRC and OPRC-HNS Protocol Technical Group; a progress report
from the Correspondence Group on the Review of the Manual on Chemical Pollution;
and an action plan to promote the recommendations of the Third Research and
Development Forum on High Density Oil Response.
Form of the
Oil Record Book
Problems involving port State control issues relating to the Form of the Oil
Record Book Part I were brought to the attention of the MEPC. The problems have
arisen due to consequential editing of the Form of the Oil Record Book Part
I (MARPOL 73/78, Consolidated Edition 2002), resulting in differences between
the Form of the Oil Record Book Part I in the 1997 and 2002 Consolidated Editions.
The Committee agreed that the Form of Oil Record Book Part I as contained in
both the 1997 and 2002 Consolidated Editions of MARPOL 73/78 should be accepted
for port State control purposes until the draft revised MARPOL Annex I containing
the amended Form of Oil Record Book Part I has been adopted by the Committee
and has entered into force.
The MEPC approved a draft Assembly resolution on Follow?up to UNCED and WSSD
for submission to the 23rd Assembly, which outlines further work for IMO in
the context of Agenda 21, adopted by UNCED in 1992, and the Plan of Implementation
adopted by the World Summit for Sustainable Development in 2002.
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for the safety of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.
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