IMO meeting adopts accelerated single-hull tanker phase-out, new regulation on carriage of heavy fuel oil
Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) - 50th session: 1 and 4 December 2003
IMO has adopted a revised, accelerated phase-out scheme for single hull tankers, along with other measures including an extended application of the Condition Assessment Scheme (CAS) for tankers and a new regulation banning the carriage of Heavy Grade Oil (HGO) in single-hull tankers.
The amendments to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto (MARPOL 73/78) were adopted at the 50th session of IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) and are expected to enter into force on 5 April 2005, under the tacit acceptance procedure.
The MEPC met at IMO Headquarters in London, 1 and 4 December 2003, under the chairmanship of Mr. Andreas Chrysostomou (Cyprus). The meeting ran concurrently with the 23rd session of the IMO Assembly which met from 24 November to 5 December 2003.
phase-out for single-hull tankers
Under the revised regulation, the Condition Assessment Scheme (CAS) is to be made applicable to all single-hull tankers of 15 years, or older. Previously it was applicable to all Category 1 vessels continuing to trade after 2005 and all Category 2 vessels after 2010. Consequential enhancements to the CAS scheme were also adopted.
The revised regulation allows the Administration (flag State) to permit continued operation of category 2 or 3 tankers beyond 2010 subject to satisfactory results from the CAS, but the continued operation must not go beyond the anniversary of the date of delivery of the ship in 2015 or the date on which the ship reaches 25 years of age after the date of its delivery, whichever is earlier.
In the case of certain Category 2 or 3 oil tankers fitted with only double bottoms or double sides not used for the carriage of oil and extending to the entire cargo tank length or double hull spaces, not meeting the minimum distance protection requirements, which are not used for the carriage of oil and extend to the entire cargo tank length, the Administration may allow continued operation beyond 2010, provided that the ship was in service on 1 July 2001, the Administration is satisfied by verification of the official records that the ship complied with the conditions specified and that those conditions remain unchanged. Again, such continued operation must not go beyond the date on which the ship reaches 25 years of age after the date of its delivery.
heavy grade oil
Under the new regulation,
HGO means any of the following:
In the case of certain Category 2 or 3 tankers carrying heavy grade oil as cargo, fitted only with double bottoms or double sides, not used for the carriage of oil and extending to the entire cargo tank length, or double hull spaces not meeting the minimum distance protection requirements which are not used for the carriage of oil and extend to the entire cargo tank length, the Administration may allow continued operation of such ships beyond 5 April 2005 until the date on which the ship reaches 25 years of age after the date of its delivery.
Regulation 13(H) also allows for continued operation of oil tankers of 5,000 tons dwt and above, carrying crude oil with a density at 15ºC higher than 900 kg/ m3 but lower than 945 kg/ m3, if satisfactory results of the Condition Assessment Scheme warrant that, in the opinion of the Administration, the ship is fit to continue such operation, having regard to the size, age, operational area and structural conditions of the ship and provided that the continued operation shall not go beyond the date on which the ship reaches 25 years after the date of its delivery.
The Administration may allow continued operation of a single hull oil tanker of 600 tons deadweight and above but less than 5,000 tons deadweight, carrying heavy grade oil as cargo, if, in the opinion of the Administration, the ship is fit to continue such operation, having regard to the size, age, operational area and structural conditions of the ship, provided that the operation shall not go beyond the date on which the ship reaches 25 years after the date of its delivery.
The Administration of a Party to the present Convention may exempt an oil tanker of 600 tons deadweight and above carrying heavy grade oil as cargo if the ship is either engaged in voyages exclusively within an area under the Party's jurisdiction, or is engaged in voyages exclusively within an area under the jurisdiction of another Party, provided the Party within whose jurisdiction the ship will be operating agrees. The same applies to vessels operating as floating storage units of heavy grade oil.
A Party to MARPOL 73/78 shall be entitled to deny entry of single hull tankers carrying heavy grade oil which have been allowed to continue operation under the exemptions mentioned above, into the ports or offshore terminals under its jurisdiction, or deny ship-to-ship transfer of heavy grade oil in areas under its jurisdiction except when this is necessary for the purpose of securing the safety of a ship or saving life at sea.
Among other resolutions adopted by the Committee, another on early implementation urged Parties to MARPOL 73/78 seriously to consider the application of the amendments as soon as possible to ships entitled to fly their flag, without waiting for the amendments to enter into force and to communicate this action to the Organization. It also invited the maritime industry to implement the aforesaid amendments to Annex I of MARPOL 73/78 effectively as soon as possible.
The Committee recalled
the situation in the beginning of the 1970s when the MEPC was established, reviewed
how the Committee had handled the environmental issues surrounding international
shipping over the past 30 years and confirmed the value of the MEPC in the international
community and in the future activities of the Organization.
IMO - the International Maritime Organization - is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.