IMO’s Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR 8) met 22-26 March in remote session.
Mitigation measures to reduce risks of use and carriage of heavy fuel oil as fuel by ships in Arctic waters
The Sub-Committee considered draft guidelines on mitigation measures to reduce risks of use and carriage of heavy fuel oil as fuel by ships in Arctic waters, developed by a correspondence group.
The draft guidelines are intended to assist Administrations of the Parties to MARPOL, the coastlines of which border on Arctic waters, to implement measures at national level to reduce the risks associated with the use of HFO as fuel and its carriage for use as fuel by ships in Arctic waters.
The draft guidelines are also aimed at providing ship operators of ships planning voyages in the Arctic with recommendations on measures to reduce the risk of spills while using or carrying HFO for use as fuel in Arctic waters.
The Sub-Committee noted that the MEPC is expected at its next session, MEPC 76 (June 2021), to adopt approved draft amendments to MARPOL Annex I (addition of a new regulation 43A) to introduce a prohibition on the use and carriage for use as fuel of heavy fuel oil (HFO) by ships in Arctic waters on and after 1 July 2024. In this context, the draft guidelines will also assist States to take decisions on waivers which will be permitted until 2029 under the proposed draft regulation 43A for ships flying their flag while operating in Arctic waters subject to their sovereignty or jurisdiction.
Following discussion, the Sub-Committee agreed to refer relevant sections of the draft guidelines to other sub committees, specifically, the Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR), to review navigational and communication measures; the Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Construction (SDC), to review the paragraph concerning the location of fuel tanks; and the Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping (HTW), to review sections on training and on-board familiarization.
It is expected that a drafting group at the next session, PPR 9, in 2022, will be invited to finalize the draft guidelines, for submission to the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) for approval.
Reducing the impact on the Arctic of Black Carbon emissions from international shipping
The Sub-Committee discussed submissions related to reducing the impact on the Arctic of Black Carbon emissions from international shipping.
Black Carbon in the context of international shipping is the product of incomplete combustion of carbon-based fuels. Black Carbon emissions contribute to climate change as a 'Short-Lived Climate Pollutant'.
IMO has been looking at how to measure and report on Black Carbon emissions. A reporting protocol for voluntary measurement studies to collect Black Carbon data and Black Carbon measurement methods for data collection have already been agreed.
With regards to developing a standardized sampling, conditioning, and measurement protocol, the Sub-Committee encouraged interested Member Governments and international organizations to undertake further studies on Black Carbon measurement systems to enable accurate and traceable (comparable) measurements of Black Carbon emission and submit the results to future sessions of the Sub-Committee.
The Sub-Committee welcomed the establishment by Canada of the international Technical Working Group (TWG) on the Development of a Standardized Sampling, Conditioning and Measurement Protocol for Black Carbon Emissions from Marine Engines.
The Sub-Committee considered the final results of a Black Carbon measurement study (submitted by Finland and Germany), which looked at aromaticity of a number of very low sulphur fuel oils (VLSFO), as well as information from the International Standardization Organization (ISO) on its monitoring of the quality of fuels supplied to ships. Fuels with a large percentage of aromatic compounds could have a direct impact on Black Carbon emissions, although this is also dependent on a wide range of other, mostly engine-related, factors.
The Sub-Committee invited Member States and international organizations to submit to future sessions of the Sub-Committee outcomes of additional Black Carbon measurement trials using different types of VLSFOs and to submit further information on the possible impact of fuel oil parameters, such as aromatic content, on Black Carbon emissions.
The ISO was invited to keep the Sub-Committee or MEPC, as appropriate, informed of its ongoing review of the ISO 8217 standard for specification of marine fuels. ISO was also invited to keep IMO updated of the possibility to include an additional informative indicator in the ISO 8217 standard, to evaluate whether a fuel tends to be paraffinic or aromatic in character. In this regard, ISO was invited to note the discussions at PPR 8 on Black Carbon, including the possible impact of aromaticity of marine fuels on Black Carbon emissions.
With regard to potential regulatory options to reduce the impact of black carbon emissions form shipping on the Arctic, the Sub-Committee invited the MEPC to approve updated terms of reference for the agenda item.
Following discussion, the draft revised Terms of Reference for further work on the reduction of the impact on the Arctic of Black Carbon Emissions from international shipping would take into account that the MEPC (74th session) had noted that action to reduce the impact on the Arctic of Black Carbon emissions from international shipping could include non-mandatory instruments such as guidance.
The Sub-Committee would:
- develop, as a starting point, guidelines on recommendatory goal-based control measures to reduce the impact on the Arctic of Black Carbon emissions from international shipping, taking into account identified candidate control measures by PPR 6 (related to the use of certain fuel types; fuel and exhaust gas treatment; ship, engine and propulsion system design; operational measures; as well as regulatory measures);
- further consider regulating or otherwise directly control Black Carbon emissions from marine diesel engines (exhaust gas) to reduce the impact on the Arctic of Black Carbon emissions from international shipping, taking into account the identified candidate control measures;
- further consider recommended Black Carbon measurement methods (light absorption filter smoke number (FSN); photo-acoustic spectroscopy (PAS); and laser induced incandescence (LII)) to be used in conjunction with regulations to control Black Carbon emissions from marine diesel engines;
- develop a standardized sampling, conditioning and measurement protocol, including a traceable reference method and an uncertainty analysis, taking into account the three most appropriate Black Carbon measurement methods (FSN, PAS, LII), to make accurate and traceable (comparable) measurements of Black Carbon emissions. This measurement system should not preclude consideration and agreement on policy options to avoid or otherwise limit Black Carbon emissions from ships, as its development would in fact benefit from guidance on how possible regulations would be applied; and
- submit a report to MEPC 79 in 2022.
The Sub-Committee invited interested Member Governments and international organizations to submit to PPR 9 relevant proposals in accordance with the revised terms of reference for this output.
Review of MARPOL Annex IV regulations and associated guidelines to introduce provisions for record-keeping and measures to confirm the lifetime performance of sewage treatment plants
The Sub-Committee continued its review of MARPOL Annex IV regulations and the related 2012 Guidelines on implementation of effluent standards and performance tests for sewage treatment plants (resolution MEPC.227(64)).
The Correspondence Group on Amendments to MARPOL Annex IV and Associated Guidelines was re-established, to continue the review. The Committee was invited to extend the target completion year to 2023.
Standard for the verification of ballast water compliance monitoring devices
IMO’s work to prevent the spread of potentially harmful invasive aquatic species is continuing. The Sub-Committee continued its work on the development of a standard for the verification of ballast water compliance monitoring devices. IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention, which has been in force since 2017, aims to prevent the spread of harmful species in ballast water by requiring ships to manage their ballast water.
A Correspondence Group on Development of a Protocol for Verification of Ballast Water Compliance Monitoring Devices was established to further the work.
Review of the IMO Biofouling Guidelines
The Sub-Committee continued its review of the IMO Biofouling Guidelines, which provide a globally consistent approach to the management of biofouling – the accumulation of various aquatic organisms on ships’ hulls, which is also a vector for the transfer of invasive aquatic species.
The Correspondence Group on Review of the Biofouling Guidelines was re-established and the Sub-Committee requested to extend the target completion year to 2023.
Marine litter – addressing losses or discharges of fishing gear
The Sub-Committee has been tasked with progressing certain elements of IMO’ s action plan to address marine plastic litter. In this context, the Sub-Committee considered the output of a correspondence group, which has been looking at how to address losses or discharges of fishing gear, including draft amendments to reporting requirements under MARPOL Annex V regulations on the prevention of pollution from ships by garbage.
The Sub-Committee agreed to further consider the report of the correspondence group and the commenting document that had been submitted to this session at its next session, in conjunction with additional relevant documents that may be forwarded to PPR 9 by the MEPC (e.g. report of the GESAMP Working Group on sea-based sources of marine litter and a submission by FAO on reporting protocols and practices). The Committee was invited to extend the target completion year to 2023.