Adoption of mandatory data collection system for fuel oil consumption
The MEPC adopted mandatory MARPOL Annex VI requirements for ships to record and report their fuel oil consumption.
Under the amendments, ships of 5,000 gross tonnage and above will be required to collect consumption data for each type of fuel oil they use, as well as other, additional, specified data including proxies for transport work. The aggregated data will be reported to the flag State after the end of each calendar year and the flag State, having determined that the data has been reported in accordance with the requirements, will issue a Statement of Compliance to the ship. Flag States will be required to subsequently transfer this data to an IMO Ship Fuel Oil Consumption Database. IMO will be required to produce an annual report to the MEPC, summarizing the data collected.
(See Briefing 28/2016)
Roadmap for reducing GHG emissions approved
The MEPC approved a Roadmap for developing a comprehensive IMO strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships, which foresees an initial GHG reduction strategy to be adopted in 2018.
It contains a list of activities, including further IMO GHG studies and significant intersessional work, with relevant timelines and provides for alignment of those new activities with the ongoing work by the MEPC on the three-step approach to ship energy efficiency improvements. This alignment provides a way forward to the adoption of a revised strategy in 2023 to include short-, mid-, and long-term further measures, as required, including implementation schedules.
The Committee also agreed to hold intersessional working group meetings on reduction of GHG emissions from ships. It is planned that the first intersessional meeting (subject to approval by the IMO Council) would be held back-to-back with MEPC 71, which is scheduled to meet in mid-2017.
(See Briefing 28/2016)
Energy efficiency of international shipping
The Committee considered the report of a correspondence group on the status of technological developments relevant to implementing Phase 2 (1 Jan 2020-31 Dec 2024) of the EEDI (Energy Efficiency Design Index) regulations. The energy-efficiency regulations require IMO to review the status of technological developments and, if proven necessary, amend the time periods, the EEDI reference line parameters for relevant ship types and reduction rates.
Following discussion in a working group, which reviewed the status of technological developments relevant to implementing phase 2 of EEDI requirements from 2020, the Committee agreed to retain the phase 2 requirements (other than ro-ro cargo ships and ro ro passenger ships) and on the need for a thorough review of EEDI phase 3 (1 January 2025 and onwards) requirements, including discussion on its earlier implementation and the possibility of establishing a phase 4. Currently, Phase 3 requirements provide that new ships be built to be 30% more energy efficient compared to the baseline.
The work to review the phased implementation of EEDI requirements will continue at the next session.
Meanwhile, updated guidelines for calculation of the EEDI were adopted, as amendments to the 2014 Guidelines on the method of calculation of the attained EEDI for new ships.
IMO was the first Organization to adopt, in 2011, energy-efficiency measures that are legally binding across an entire global industry. Energy-efficiency design standards for new ships and associated operational energy-efficiency measures for existing ships became mandatory in 2013, with the entry into force of the relevant amendments to MARPOL Annex VI.
Data received by the IMO Secretariat identifies that so far more than 1,900 ships have been certified as complying with the new energy efficiency design standards.
2020 global sulphur cap implementation date decided
In a landmark decision for both the environment and human health, 1 January 2020 was confirmed as the implementation date for a significant reduction in the sulphur content of the fuel oil used by ships.
The decision to implement a global sulphur cap of 0.50% m/m (mass/mass) in 2020 represents a significant cut from the 3.5% m/m global limit currently in place and demonstrates a clear commitment by IMO to ensuring shipping meets its environmental obligations.
(See Briefing 27/2016)
North Sea and Baltic Sea emission control areas for nitrogen oxides (NOX) approved
The MEPC approved the designation of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea as emission control areas (ECA) for nitrogen oxides (NOX) under regulation 13 of MARPOL Annex VI. The draft amendments to formally designate the NOX ECAs will be put forward for adoption at the next session of the Committee (MEPC 71).
The draft amendments to MARPOL Annex VI would see both ECAs enter into effect on 1 January 2021. Designation as a NOX ECA would require marine diesel engines to comply with the Tier III NOX emission limit when installed on ships constructed on or after 1 January 2021 and operating in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. Furthermore, provisions were approved to allow ships fitted with non-Tier III compliant marine diesel engines to be built, converted, repaired and/or maintained at shipyards located in the NOX Tier III ECAs. Both areas are already ECAS for SOx.
Bunker delivery note amendments approved
The MEPC approved, with a view to adoption at MEPC 71, draft amendments to the MARPOL Annex VI bunker delivery note relating to the supply of marine fuel oil to ships which have fitted alternative mechanisms to address sulphur emissions requirements.
The draft amendments to appendix V of MARPOL Annex VI are intended to address situations where the fuel oil supplied does not meet low sulphur requirements, but has been supplied to a ship which is using “equivalent means” (for example, abatement technology such as scrubbers) to reduce the sulphur oxide emissions of the ship in order to comply with MARPOL requirements.
The MEPC approved Guidelines for onboard sampling for the verification of the sulphur content of fuel oil used on board. The guidelines provide an agreed method for sampling to enable effective control and enforcement of liquid fuel oil used on board ships under the provisions of MARPOL Annex VI.
Interpretations for SCRs under NOX Technical Code
The MEPC approved unified interpretations to the NOX Technical Code 2008 related to the approval of selective catalytic reduction systems to meet NOX standards.
Adoption of other amendments to MARPOL
The MEPC adopted the following with an expected entry into force date of 1 March 2018:
- Amendments to MARPOL Annex I to update Form B of the Supplement to the International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate, in relation to segregated ballast tanks;
- Amendments to MARPOL Annex V related to products which are hazardous to the marine environment (HME) and Form of Garbage Record Book. The amendments provide criteria for the classification of solid bulk cargoes as harmful to the marine environment and are aimed at ensuring that such substances are declared by the shipper if they are classed as harmful and are not discharged.
Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) designated in Papua New Guinea
The MEPC designated the region surrounding Jomard Entrance, part of the Louisiade Archipelago at the south eastern extent of Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea, as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA). The PSSA includes established routeing systems (four two-way routes and a precautionary area) which were adopted in 2014 and entered into force on 1 June 2015.
Implementation of the BWM Convention - Revised Guidelines for approval of ballast water management systems adopted
The Committee welcomed the news that the conditions for entry into force of the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention), 2004, were met on 8 September 2016 and consequently the treaty will enter into force on 8 September 2017.
The MEPC adopted revised Guidelines for approval of ballast water management systems (G8), which update the Guidelines issued in 2008.
The revision to the guidelines updates the approval procedures for ballast water management systems (BWMS), including more robust test and performance specifications as well as more detailed requirements for type approval reporting and control and monitoring equipment, among others.
The type approval process was expanded, with detailed requirements for land-based, shipboard, and other tests set out in an annex. A ballast water management system which in every respect fulfils the requirements of the Guidelines may be approved by the Administration for fitting on board ships. The approval should take the form of a Type Approval Certificate for BWMS, specifying the main particulars of the BWMS and any limiting operating conditions.
The MEPC recommended application of the revised Guidelines (G8) as soon as possible and agreed that BWMS installed on ships on or after 28 October 2020 should be approved taking into account the revised guidelines. Systems installed prior to that date could be approved using the existing guidelines or the revised guidelines.
It was also agreed that the approval process should be made mandatory and the MEPC instructed the IMO Secretariat to prepare the Code for approval of ballast water management systems as well as draft amendments to the BWM Convention making the Code mandatory, for circulation with a view to adoption following entry into force of the Convention.
The MEPC also further discussed the agreed roadmap for implementation of the BWM Convention and agreed to instruct a correspondence group to develop a structured plan for data gathering and analysis of experience gained with the implementation of the BWM Convention.
Submissions were invited to MEPC 71 in relation to developing guidance on contingency measures under the BWM Convention and amendments to the Guidelines for risk assessment under regulation A-4 of the BWM Convention (G7) to incorporate the “same risk area” concept, which the Committee agreed may already be applied to grant exemptions under the Convention.
Further work on the implementation of the Convention will also take place at the next session of the Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR 4), in January 2017, including the review of guidance on sampling and analysis and the completion of the "Ballast Water Management – How to do it" manual.
With regards to the dates of implementation of the BWM Convention, the MEPC recalled that proposed draft amendments to regulation B-3 of the Convention relating to the time scale for implementation of its requirements had been previously approved at the last session of the Committee (MEPC 69) for circulation upon entry into force of the Convention, with a view to subsequent adoption. The draft amendments would provide for compliance with regulation D-2 (Ballast water performance standard) of the Convention by a ship’s first renewal survey following entry into force.
A proposal for alternative draft amendments which would allow for compliance by the second renewal survey in certain circumstances was put forward. It was agreed that the alternative proposal would be debated at the next Committee session (MEPC 71) in mid-2017.
The Committee granted Final Approval to one BWMS that makes use of active substances and Basic Approval to one system. The Committee noted that the total number of type-approved BWMS stands now at 69.
Oil pollution response manuals approved
The revised section II of the Manual on Oil Pollution – Contingency Planning; and the Guide on oil spill response in ice and snow conditions were approved.