Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR), 2nd session, 19 to 23 January 2015

Revised guidance for the Inventory of Hazardous Materials agreed
Revised guidance for the Inventory of Hazardous Materials, an important requirement of the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009, was agreed by the Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR), when it met for its 2nd session.

The Sub-Committee agreed the draft 2015 Guidelines for the development of the Inventory of Hazardous Materials, for submission to the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) for adoption.  

The revisions to the previous 2011 guidelines include updates to the threshold values for asbestos, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), polybrominated biphenyls (PBB), polychlorinated naphthalenes (PCN) and radioactive substances, as well as exemption and bulk listings.

When the Hong Kong Convention enters into force, ships to be sent for recycling will be required to carry an inventory of hazardous materials on board, which will be specific to each ship.

Three States (Norway, the Republic of the Congo and France) have ratified or acceded to the Hong Kong Convention so far. The treaty will enter into force when at least 15 States to become Parties, representing at least 40% of world merchant shipping tonnage. In addition, the combined maximum annual ship recycling volume of the contracting States, over the past 10 years, must be no less than 3 per cent of their combined gross tonnage.

Black Carbon definition recommended
The Sub-Committee concurred with a working group’s view that the “Bond et al.” definition for “Black Carbon” should be recommended to MEPC for approval as the definition of Black Carbon for international shipping, as this definition is measurement method neutral, and is widely supported by the scientific community. 

The Bond et al.  definition describes Black Carbon as “a distinct type of carbonaceous material, formed only in flames during combustion of carbon-based fuels. It is distinguishable from other forms of carbon and carbon compounds contained in atmospheric aerosol because it has a unique combination of the following physical properties: 

1. it strongly absorbs visible light with a mass absorption cross section of at least 5 m2g-1 at a wavelength of 550 nm; 
2. it is refractory; that is, it retains its basic form at very high temperatures, with vaporization temperature near 4000 K; 
3. it is insoluble in water, in organic solvents including methanol and acetone, and in other components of atmospheric aerosol; and 
4. it exists as an aggregate of small carbon spherules." 

(Reference: Bond, T.C. et al. (2013). Bounding the role of Black Carbon in the climate system: A scientific Assessment, Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmosphere, 118, 5380-5552, doi:10.1002/JGRD.50171.

The Sub-committee also noted that there was a need for measurement studies to be carried out and at this stage the focus should be on using the agreed definition to support data collection, to identify the most appropriate measurement method(s) for Black Carbon emissions from international shipping.  

The Sub-Committee further noted that the need for measurement studies meant that it was not possible at this stage to consider possible control measures to reduce the impact on the Arctic of emissions of Black Carbon from international shipping. 
Revisions to exhaust gas cleaning system guidelines agreed
The Sub-Committee agreed draft amendments to update the 2009 Guidelines for exhaust gas cleaning systems (resolution MEPC.184(59)), for submission for adoption by MEPC 68. The revisions update the guidelines with regards to measurement of CO2, SO2 and the pH discharge limit at the overboard monitoring position.  

Testing of gas fuelled engines and dual fuel engines under NOx Technical Code 2008 – amendments agreed

Draft amendments to the NOX Technical Code 2008, concerning revisions for the testing of gas fuelled engines and dual fuel engines for NOX Tier III strategy, were agreed for submission to MEPC 68, with a view to approval and subsequent adoption.

The Sub-Committee also agreed, in principle, a draft MEPC circular on Guidance on the application of regulation 13 of MARPOL Annex VI Tier III requirements to dual fuel and gas fuelled engines, for submission to MEPC 68 for approval. The guidance aims to assist in the uniform application of regulation 13 of MARPOL Annex VI Tier III requirements to dual fuel and gas fuelled engines, including when these engines are certified to meet both Tier II and Tier III requirements.   

Draft amendments to SCR-fitted marine diesel engines guidelines agreed
Draft amendments to the 2011 Guidelines addressing additional aspects to the NOX Technical Code 2008 with regard to particular requirements related to marine diesel engines fitted with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) Systems (resolution MEPC.198(62)), for submission to MEPC 68, with a view to adoption. The amendments add a new paragraph under the Scheme B test procedure related to the calculation of gaseous emissions.  

Draft Guidelines on international offers of assistance for oil pollution incidents agreed
The Sub-Committee agreed draft Guidelines on international offers of assistance in response to a marine oil pollution incident, for submission to MEPC 68 for approval and publication. 

The guidelines were developed  initially through the former OPRC-HNS Technical Group and later by a correspondence group, in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico (April 2010), which required an international response that far exceeded the response resources available within the United States. The complex response that ensued highlighted some significant gaps in managing offers of assistance from international partners within the US response regimes, as well as gaps in existing guidelines, such as how best to request and search for the resources specifically needed, and who best to contact; how to evaluate and document the many generous, unsolicited offers and choose only those that meet operational needs; and how to manage the logistics once an offer is accepted (e.g. how to transfer the equipment, how to fund, how to manage the customs and coastal trading laws).

The guidelines therefore include a series of key components that help establish a comprehensive system of mechanisms and procedures to manage such matters as: communication between governments and with regional and international bodies/organizations; overall coordination of offers and requests for assistance; evaluation of offers; and management of the receipt of offers, once accepted.
Draft IMO Dispersant Guidelines part III agreed 
The Sub-Committee agreed Part III of the IMO Dispersant Guidelines, covering Operational and Technical information for Surface Application of Dispersants, developed for operational users with a view to providing the required knowledge for efficient dispersant application.

The guidelines will be submitted to MEPC 68, for approval and publication, together with parts I and II of the IMO Dispersant Guidelines, which were previously approved by MEPC 65.  A correspondence group was instructed to develop Part IV.  

The IMO Dispersant Guidelines are divided into four independent parts:  

Part I - Basic Information on Dispersants and Their Application
Part II - Outline for a National Policy on the Use of Dispersants: Proposed Template for National Policy for the Use of Dispersants
Part III - Operational and Technical Sheets for Surface Application of Dispersants
Part IV - Sub-sea Dispersant Application (drafting still in progress)

The correspondence group was also instructed to finalize the updated and revised section II of the Manual on Oil Pollution – Contingency Planning.  

Correspondence group re-established on OSV chemicals code
The Sub-Committee continued its work on developing a draft Code for the Transport and Handling of Limited Amounts of Hazardous and Noxious Liquid Substances in Bulk in Offshore Support Vessels (OSV Chemical Code) and re-established the correspondence group to finalise the text. 

The aim is to develop a consistent regulatory framework for the transport and handling of limited amounts of hazardous and noxious liquid substances in bulk on offshore support vessels with a single certification scheme, taking into account the complex and continued evolution of the offshore industry as well as the unique design features and service characteristics of these vessels.