An important series of guidelines to support the uniform implementation of mandatory measures to increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from international shipping was adopted by the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), when it met for its 63rd session from 27 February to 2 March 2012, at IMO Headquarters in London, paving the way for the regulations to be smoothly and uniformly implemented by Administrations and industry.
The MEPC also continued its intensive discussion on market-based measures for greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping.
During the busy session, the MEPC also adopted amendments to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) relating to regional arrangements for port reception facilities; and adopted guidelines related to the implementation of the revised MARPOL Annex V (Garbage) and the Hong Kong Convention for the recycling of ships.
The MEPC also granted basic and final approval to a number of ballast water management systems that make use of active substances.
Guidelines for implementation of energy efficiency measures adopted
The MEPC adopted four sets of guidelines intended to assist in the implementation of the mandatory Regulations on Energy Efficiency for Ships in MARPOL Annex VI, which are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2013:
• 2012 Guidelines on the method of calculation of the attained Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) for new ships;
• 2012 Guidelines for the development of a Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP);
• 2012 Guidelines on survey and certification of the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI); and
• Guidelines for calculation of reference lines for use with the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI).
The guidelines adopted will support Member States in their uniform implementation of the amendments to MARPOL Annex VI Regulations for the prevention of air pollution from ships, adopted in July 2011, which add a new chapter 4 to Annex VI on Regulations on energy efficiency for ships to make mandatory the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI), for new ships, and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) for all ships.
The EEDI is a non-prescriptive, performance-based mechanism that leaves the choice of technologies to use in a specific ship design to the industry. As long as the required energy-efficiency level is attained, ship designers and builders would be free to use the most cost-efficient solutions for the ship to comply with the regulations.
The SEEMP establishes a mechanism for operators to improve the energy efficiency of ships.
Finalization and adoption of the supporting guidelines was a significant achievement and also provides sufficient lead time for Administrations and industry to prepare.
The MEPC also agreed an updated work plan for the development of further guidelines and the development of energy efficiency frameworks for those ships not covered by the current EEDI regulations.
Technology transfer resolution debated
Linked to the implementation of energy efficiency measures was the draft MEPC resolution on the Promotion of technical co-operation and transfer of technology relating to the improvement of energy efficiency of ships, where it was agreed to further discuss the draft at the next session.
MBMs discussion continues
The MEPC continued its intensive consideration of proposed market-based measures (MBMs), which would complement the technical and operational measures already adopted. Further debate will continue at the next session (MEPC 64, 1 to 5 October 2012). The MBM proposals under review range from a contribution or levy on all CO2 emissions from international shipping or only from those ships not meeting the EEDI requirement, via emission trading systems, to schemes based on a ship’s actual efficiency, both by design (EEDI) and operation (SEEMP).
The Committee considered the undertaking of an impact assessment of the MBM proposals and considered in detail the methodology and criteria it should be based on. Towards the end of the meeting, the Chairman presented draft terms of reference for the impact assessment which will continue to be considered at the next session in October.
NOx technical code amendments adopted
The MEPC adopted amendments to the NOx Technical Code 2008, relating to engines not pre-certified on a test bed and NOx reducing devices.
MARPOL amendments MARPOL on regional port reception arrangements adopted
The MEPC adopted amendments to MARPOL Annexes I, II, IV, V and VI which are aimed at enabling small island developing Statesto comply with requirements for port States to provide reception facilities for ship waste through regional arrangements. Parties participating in a regional arrangement must develop a Regional Reception Facilities Plan and provide particulars of the identified Regional Ships Waste Reception Centres; and particulars of those ports with only limited facilities. The amendments are expected to enter into force on 1 August 2013.
A resolution containing Guidelines for the Development of a Regional Reception Facilities Plan was also adopted.
Resolution on sewage treatment equipment under MARPOL Annex IV adopted
An MEPC resolution was adopted on the development of technical onboard equipment in relation to the designation of the Baltic Sea as a Special Area under MARPOL Annex IV Prevention of pollution by sewage from ships, which calls for the development, without delay, of proven, adequate and cost-effective technical onboard equipment to make it possible to meet the discharge standards for passenger ships operating in special areas under that Annex.
This follows the adoption by MEPC 62 of amendments to MARPOL Annex IV to include the provisions establishing “Special Areas” under MARPOL Annex IV and designating the Baltic Sea as a Special Area under this Annex. Those amendments are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2013.
MARPOL Annex V guidelines adopted
The MEPC adopted the 2012 Guidelines for the Implementation of MARPOL Annex V and 2012 Guidelines for the Development of Garbage Management Plans. The guidelines are intended to assist in the implementation of the revised MARPOL Annex V Regulations for the prevention of pollution by garbage from ships, which was adopted at MEPC 62 in July 2011 and is expected to enter into force on 1 January 2013.
Recycling of ships - guidelines adopted
The MEPC adopted the 2012 Guidelines for Safe and Environmentally Sound Ship Recycling and the 2012 Guidelines for the Authorization of Ship Recycling Facilities.
These guidelines, along with the 2011 Guidelines for the development of the Inventory of Hazardous Materials and the 2011 Guidelines for the development of the Ship Recycling Plan that were adopted by MEPC 62, are intended to assist ship-recycling facilities and shipping companies to commence introducing voluntary improvements to meet the requirements of the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, which was adopted in May 2009.
The MEPC established a correspondence group to further develop the draft text of Guidelines for Survey and Certification under the Hong Kong Convention and Guidelines for Inspection of Ships under the Hong Kong Convention.
Ballast water management systems approved
The MEPC granted basic approval to three, and final approval to five ballast water management systems that make use of active substances, after considering the reports of the 18th, 19th and 20th meetings of the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environment Protection (GESAMP) Ballast Water Working Group, which took place 2011.
The MEPC also adopted the revised Guidelines on design and construction to facilitate sediment control on ships (G12), one of the 14 sets of guidelines developed to assist in the implementation of the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004 (BWM Convention). The revised Guidelines (G12) update the previous version adopted in 2006.
With regard to the availability of ballast water management systems, the MEPC noted that there were now 21 type-approved systems available. While some delegations expressed concerns regarding the implementation of the BWM Convention, due to lack of approved technologies, limited shipyard capacity, time availability and the costs involved, other delegations were of the view that there are sufficient ballast water treatment technologies and shipyard capacity and encouraged shipowners to start installing ballast water management systems on their ships in order to avoid possible bottlenecks at a later stage.
The Committee noted that there was consensus regarding the need for additional information on the implementation pace, availability of technologies and shipyard facilities and invited Member States to provide updated information regarding the status in their respective countries. A template was agreed to provide this information.
The MEPC reiterated the need for those countries that had not already done so to ratify BWM Convention, at their earliest possible opportunity, to achieve its entry into force. To date, 33 States, with an aggregate merchant shipping tonnage of 26.46 per cent of the world total, have ratified the Convention. The Convention will enter into force twelve months after the date on which not fewer than 30 States, the combined merchant fleets of which constitute not less than 35 percent of the gross tonnage of the world’s merchant shipping, have become Parties to it.
Amendments to the IBC Code
The MEPC approved draft amendments to chapters 17, 18 and 19 of the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (IBC Code), subject to MSC 90’s concurrent decision, with a view to adoption at MEPC 64.
Oil pollution response manuals approved
The MEPC approved a number of guidance manuals developed by the OPRC HNS Technical Group: IMO/IPIECA Guidance on sensitivity mapping for oil spill response; Guideline for oil spill response in fast currents; Operational guide on the use of sorbents; and Oil spill waste management decision support tool.
Polar Code – environmental aspects discussed
The Committee reviewed progress in the Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Equipment (DE) in developing the draft text of the mandatory Code for ships operating in polar waters (Polar Code), which is intended to cover the full range of shipping-related matters relevant to navigation in waters surrounding the two poles and the protection of the unique environment and eco-systems of the polar regions. It was noted that the intention was to develop an environmental protection chapter in the draft Polar Code.
Member States and international non-governmental organizations in consultative status were invited to submit relevant proposals related to environmental provisions proposed to be included in the Polar Code to the next MEPC session in October 2012, with a view to providing additional guidance to the DE Sub-Committee for its next session in March 2013.
The MEPC agreed that the Polar Code should be made mandatory thorough the adoption of appropriate amendments to the relevant annexes of International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), MARPOL, and other relevant environmental instruments.