Air pollution rules to enter into force in 2005
Regulations for the
Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships are set to enter into force on 19 May 2005,
following the ratification by the Independent State of Samoa of Annex VI of the
International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as
modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto (MARPOL 73/78).
The 1997 Protocol
to the MARPOL Convention, which includes Annex VI, enters into force 12 months
after being accepted by 15 States with not less than 50% of world merchant shipping
tonnage. Samoa, the fifteenth State to ratify the instrument, deposited its
ratification on 18 May 2004. Annex VI has now been ratified by States with 54.57%
of world merchant shipping tonnage.
Annex VI sets
limits on sulphur oxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from ship exhausts and
prohibits deliberate emissions of ozone-depleting substances.
IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos said he was pleased to see the
Annex achieve sufficient ratifications to enter into force.
"With the entry into force of Annex VI, the full set of MARPOL international
regulations for the prevention of pollution by ships will be in force. We must
now ensure their effective implementation and enforcement", he said.
In welcoming entry into force of Annex VI, the Secretary-General also took the
opportunity to urge Governments to ratify other IMO pollution-prevention instruments,
particularly the International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling
Systems on Ships of 2001, which has so far been ratified by eight of the 25
States representing 25% of the world's tonnage required for it to enter into
force, and the recently adopted International Convention for the Control and
Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments.
Prevention of Air Pollution from ships
The Protocol including Annex VI to the MARPOL Convention was adopted at a Conference
held in September 1997, in response to IMO Assembly Resolution A.719(17) on
Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships, adopted in 1991, which called
on IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) to prepare a new draft
Annex to MARPOL 73/78 on prevention of air pollution. The Annex was developed
over the next few years.
The regulations include a global cap of 4.5% m/m on the sulphur content of fuel
oil and calls on IMO to monitor the worldwide average sulphur content of fuel
once the Protocol comes into force.
Annex VI contains provisions allowing for special "SOx Emission Control Areas"
to be established with more stringent controls on sulphur emissions. In these
areas, the sulphur content of fuel oil used on board ships must not exceed 1.5%
m/m. Alternatively, ships must fit an exhaust gas cleaning system or use any other
technological method to limit SOx emissions. The Baltic Sea Area is designated
as a SOx Emission Control area in the Protocol.
In March 2000, the MEPC approved a proposed amendment to Annex VI to also include
the North Sea as a SOx Emission Control Area. The aim is to adopt the amendment
once MARPOL Annex VI enters into force.
Annex VI prohibits deliberate emissions of ozone depleting substances, which include
halons and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). New installations containing ozone-depleting
substances are prohibited on all ships. But new installations containing hydro-chlorofluorocarbons
(HCFCs) are permitted until 1 January 2020.
Annex VI also sets limits on emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from diesel engines.
A mandatory NOx Technical Code, which defines how this shall be done, was adopted
by the Conference under the cover of Resolution 2.
The Annex also prohibits the incineration on board ships of certain products,
such as contaminated packaging materials and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
Greenhouse gas emissions
As Annex VI does not cover the emission of greenhouse gases from ships, the IMO
Assembly in November 2003 adopted resolution A.963(23) on IMO Policies and
Practices related to the Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Ships.
26 May 2004
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
Web site: www.imo.org
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