Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 75) - closing remarks


at the end of MEPC 75, 20 November 2020

Mr. Chair, excellencies, distinguished delegates and observers,

We are now at the end of another busy MEPC session, and the Committee has once again made many important accomplishments during this week even under challenging conditions meeting remotely

In the interest of time, I will only mention a few of them:

  1. the approval of the draft amendments to MARPOL Annex VI to reduce GHG emission of international shipping together with 
  2. the approval of the terms of reference for the comprehensive impact assessment; and
  3. the approval of the Fourth IMO GHG Study.  

All these GHG-related matters reflect IMO's dedication to reduce GHG emissions from shipping;

  • the adoption of the amendments to MARPOL Annex VI concerning sampling and verification of the sulphur content, as well as  EEDI to accelerate phase 3 from 2025 to 2022 for some ship types; and
  • the adoption of amendments to the BWM Convention concerning commissioning testing of ballast water management systems.
  • furthermore, approval of draft amendments to the AFS Convention concerning controls on cybutryne for adoption at MEPC 76; and
  • approval of the draft amendments to MARPOL Annex VI concerning a prohibition on the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil by ships in Arctic waters, for adoption at MEPC 76.


These accomplishments illustrate the remarkable progress you have made during this week, and it would not have been possible without your unfailing commitment to our common goals.

I would like to thank your Chair, Mr. Hideaki Saito of Japan.

You have once again demonstrated an excellent leadership in steering the affairs of the Committee highly successfully.

I would also like to thank your Vice-Chair, Mr Harry Conway of Liberia, for his support throughout this session, and for coordinating the Steering Committee of the Fourth GHG Study and he has accepted to coordinate the Steering Group on the Comprehensive Assessment.

My thanks also go to the chair of the drafting group, Mr. Holger Steinbock of Germany. And once again to Mr. Sveinung Oftedal of Norway, who successfully chaired the Intersessional Working Group on the reduction of Greenhouse gases

Allow me to thank all the staff of the IMO Secretariat who contributed to MEPC 75. I wish to say a special thank you to the interpreters, particularly under special challenges raised by the virtual conduct of the meeting.

The end of a Committee session is also a moment to thank those delegates, who are leaving us, for their contributions to the work of the Committee and of the Organization and wish them all the best for their future.

I would like to convey my deep condolences to the Canadian delegation on the passing of Mr. Richard Day, a long-standing member of the Canadian delegation.

Distinguished delegates,

while the primary purpose of this Committee is to prevent pollution from ships, we must never forget to support the seafarers who operate those ships, and who implement the regulations you adopt, on the oceans.  This is particularly true now, as the industry faces the crew change crisis, with hundreds of thousands of seafarers stranded at sea.

I have been informed that the delegation of Indonesia at the UN General Assembly has introduced a resolution regarding the crew change crisis to the General Assembly of the United Nations, which will be considered in the near future, and they are seeking more co-sponsoring countries  for that resolution. 

I wish to congratulate Indonesia for their efforts, and I encourage all Member States to carefully consider this UNGA resolution, as it will be an important tool for IMO to help resolve the seafarers' crisis. 

Excellencies, distinguished delegates,

You have shown once again that, together, IMO can deliver progress even in the most difficult of circumstances.

It now remains for me to wish you all a nice weekend and thank you all again for your hard work, cooperation and your continuous support to the work of the Organization.

Moreover, I wish all of you to stay well and safe under this challenging time.

Thank you very much.