Marine-Environment-Protection-Committee (MEPC-79) 12-16-December-2022 (closing-remarks)



Mr. Chair, excellencies, distinguished delegates and observers,

We are at the end of the seventy-ninth session of MEPC, and it has been a demanding but productive week. Your efforts and determination paid off, as illustrated by the outcomes of the meeting. I will just highlight some of your achievements during this session.

With regard to greenhouse gas emissions, you considered the outcome of the thirteenth session of  the Intersessional Working Group on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships (ISWG-GHG 13), and I note and welcome the progress made on these matters. It cannot be stressed enough how crucial it is that we keep the momentum and deliver an ambitious and fair, revised IMO GHG Strategy at MEPC 80 next year.

The revised resolutions to encourage voluntary cooperation between the port and the shipping sectors to contribute to reducing GHG emissions from ships and to encourage Member States to develop and submit voluntary National Action Plans (NAPs) to address GHG emissions from ships that you have adopted will provide a great support to these efforts.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to all Member States, and observer delegations, and especially the Chair of the Working Group on Reduction of GHG emissions from ships, Mr. Oftedal of Norway, for the hard work leading to the successful outcome of the last two weeks and in advance, for the work ahead.

We cannot take our foot off the accelerator, at this moment in time, the cooperation and dialogue that is the trademark of IMO, and not least this Committee, will be more important than ever in delivering on what is expected of us to address climate change, but also biodiversity loss and marine pollution.

Distinguished delegates,

This being your first meeting in person since 2019, and you have made valuable progress on a number of important issues.

With regard to ballast water management (BWM), you approved the amendments to appendix II of the Annex to the BWM Convention (Form of Ballast Water Record Book), as well as the unified interpretation of paragraph 4.10 of the BWMS Code, and the revised unified interpretation of regulation E-1.1.5 of the BWM Convention and the Form of the International Ballast Water Management Certificate.

You also adopted a series of important draft amendments:

  • to MARPOL Annexes I, II, IV, V and VI concerning regional reception facilities in Arctic waters, [including to the Form of the IOPP Certificate, the Garbage Record Book, and the information to be included in the bunker delivery note and to the information to be submitted to the IMO Ship Fuel Oil Consumption Database];

  • to the 2012 Guidelines for the Development of a Regional Reception Facilities Plan; and

  • and to Annex VI on the establishment of the Mediterranean Sea Emission Control Area for Sulphur Oxides and Particulate Matter.

Finally, your decision to agree in principle to the designation of the Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) in the North-West Mediterranean Sea will be an important contribution to protecting cetaceans in these waters.

Distinguished delegates,

I would like to express my profound thanks to you, Mr. Chair, for steering the Committee through a very busy agenda. Allow me also to congratulate you once again on your election as Chair of the Committee, as well as your newly elected Vice-Chair, Mr. Tan Hanqiang of Singapore, as well as the outgoing Chair, Mr. Hideaki-san of Japan, for his extensive work, dedication and contribution in successfully steering the Committee during his tenure.

During the week, you also established two working groups, a drafting group, a technical group and a review group, and my thanks go to the chairs of these groups, namely Mr. Kohei Iwaki of Japan, Mr. Sveinung Oftedal of Norway, Mr. Holger Steinbock of Germany, Ms. Norma Munguia Aldaraca of Mexico and Ms. Leanne Page of the United Kingdom. In particular, allow me to thank Mr. Iwaki and Ms. Munguia Aldaraca for their excellent work, given that this was their first time to chair groups at this Committee.

I also understand that this was Mr. Steinbock's last session as chair of the Drafting Group and allow me to express our gratitude for your hard work in supporting the work of the Committee during the past eight years.

Distinguished delegates,

My sincere thanks go to the staff of the Marine Environment Division, under the leadership of the Director, Mr. Arsenio Dominguez. The Division has always worked tirelessly before and during this meeting, and with ISWG-GHG 13 meeting the week just before the Committee, that has been a tall order. But as always you rose to the challenge.

I would also like to thank the staff of the Conference Division, the Administrative Division, the Legal Affairs and External Relations Division, the Department of Information Technology and all other Divisions and Departments for their tremendous support, and of course also my sincere thanks to the interpreters.

As is customary, the end of this Committee session is also a moment to thank those delegates who are leaving us. I understand that a number of you have, or will, either be retiring of transferring to new positions away from London or the maritime sector. My sincere thanks go to:

  • Ambassador Victor Camilleri (Malta)

  • Ms. Magda Kopczynska (European Commission)

  • Mrs. Janet Strode (International Parcel Tankers Association, IPTA)

  • Captain Moin Ahmed (IMSO, Director-General)

  • Ms. Annalisse Sly (Australia)

  • Mr. Anas Suleiman (Nigeria)

  • Mr. Ji-hyun Lim (Republic of Korea)

Your contribution to the work of the Committee and of the Organization is sincerely appreciated, and I wish you all the best for the future.

This week we also received the sad news that one of our former delegates, Mr. Paul Nelson of Australia passed away, and I express my sincere condolences to his family, friends and delegation.

Finally, within the Secretariat, there are few who have recently left the Organization and I wish to thank them for their service.

On this occasion, I would however like to single out two staff members from MED. As some of you may know Ms. Katherine Yentumi, Assistant to the Director of MED, retired from the Organization in July after years of distinguished service. Furthermore, for Ms. Lucy Essuman, Principal Secretary in the Sub-Division for Protective Measures, this MEPC has been her last, after a long and dedicated service to the Organization. I take this opportunity to wish you a long and happy retirement.

Excellencies, distinguished delegates,

It now remains for me to thank all of you once again for your commitment and hard work this week, and for your continued dedication to the work of the Organization. I wish you all a restful weekend, and very soon a well-deserved holiday break over the festive season.

I look forward to seeing you all back here soon in January, for the first meetings to start off a year that will no doubt be crucially important for this Committee and the Organization.

Thank you.