Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), 64th session, 1 to 5 October 2012 (closing remarks)

Thank you, Mr Chairman, we are approaching the end of this again, a very important session of MEPC.  Significant efforts have made and in my view for all aspects of the work of this Committee and you have made a significant contribution and progress. We have adopted two remaining guidelines for Ship Recycling Convention, adopted 2012 amendments to the IBC Code and Guidelines on effluent standards and performance tests for sewage treatment plants.
You have designated formally, a new Particularly Sensitive Sea Area, for Saba Bank and approved amendments to MARPOL to implement the III Code and the Mandatory Audit Scheme; as well, you approved the draft RO Code. This has been a significant progress. 
On the matter of sulphur regulation, you decided not to carry out a preliminary “Availability Study”, and as I mentioned in the Opening Speech this week, now is the time to put further efforts to ensure the availability of low sulphur fuel. And we should ensure “sufficient investment” to be made in the oil/refinery industry towards meeting the 2020 targets.
In this context, the role of Governments is significant:
- to set out clear policy;
- to make suitable arrangements and guidance to the industry; so that
- the availability of low sulphur fuel will be ensured.
Regarding the BWM Convention, positive steps have been taken to address the immediate problems of entry into force of the BWM Convention. The next MEPC and Assembly next year are crucial to address the real problem we are facing and agree with the necessary measures to mitigate the magnitude of the teething problems of the BWM requirements, associated with the introduction of the Convention and to implement any agreed measures under the active BWM Convention, hopefully by 2015.
And in this context, I encourage all Member Governments to make further efforts to ratify the BWM Convention as soon as possible but not later than the end of 2013, and I think we have now a road map, a clear road map towards the entry into force of the Convention in the really near future.

On GHG issues, I am very pleased to have seen significant and constructive positive progress made at this session with the Working Group lead by Mr. Dominguez.
I am really encouraged by your interim agreement to work further based on the text developed by the Working Group and contained in WP.10, and words of many delegates have clearly indicated their willingness and commitment to finalize the matter for technology transfer at your next session.
MARPOL Annex VI amendments will come into force on 1 January next year, and new ships must comply with EEDI with a waiver clause up to 2017, and in order to ensure, wide/uniform implementation, regulation 23 must be implemented:
- understanding each other’s positions;
- recognizing common objectives for Technology Transfer and Technical Co-operation under regulation 23; and
- co-operation and consultation; with open mind and with creative spirit,

they are all necessary elements this important debate requires towards a common ground to be formed as a consensus under the usual IMO spirit of co-operation.
In addition to this issue, MEPC 65 next session needs to conduct further detailed discussion on Market-Based Measures.
I am really looking forward to the constructive debate at the next session on these issues.

Distinguished delegates,
It remains for me to thank and congratulate all of you, once again, for your contributions during this session.  But of course, a special tribute is due to your Chairman, Andreas.  Once again, he has done a truly magnificent job in delivering to the highest standards expected from the Organization.  Andreas, this was your 16th MEPC session you chaired and you have shouldered your responsibilities with your usual, tremendous commitment, patience, almost super-human stamina, I must say, and I think they are wondering where all those qualifications come from. I am sure that he has something very solid and deep in his mind and body.  Probably it is his passion and passion to serve maritime community and society through working our small but efficient IMO community. So Andreas, you are always obviously surrounded by all friends/colleagues and I am sure, delegates, you would join me to thank Andreas for his work well done again.
Also, my special thanks are due to Arsenio Dominguez for his input and support and, tremendous efforts and his ability to bring all to one direction, clearly demonstrated this week in the work of the draft MEPC resolution on technology transfer.  I am sure that the whole Committee would again join me in thanking Arsenio, for his truly valuable contributions throughout this week.
Thank you Arsenio.
I also wish to thank the Marine Environment Division’s staff and its Director, Stefan Micallef, for the very long hours preparing and running this really demanding session.  Their team work and professionalism have been exemplary.
Many others from across the Secretariat have worked very hard to facilitate this discussion and this session, in particular, our colleagues in the Conference and Documents Sections, and also translators and interpreters. 
This is also an opportune moment to thank those delegates who are leaving us and opportunity to pay tribute for their contributions to the work of the Committee and of the Organization and wish them all the best for their future.
Amongst them, I just single out Mr Sammy Park, of the Republic of Korea, and also Nora McCleary, of Canada, who is, as far as I understand, retiring.  All the best for all those people who have contributed to the work of this Organization.
Last but not least, we say farewell and thank wholeheartedly the IMO colleagues who will be retiring at the end of this year, particularly, Dr. Nikos Mikelis of the Marine Environment Division.  He has done sterling work in assisting the Committee in the development of the Ship Recycling Convention and in his tirelessly pursuing technical co-operation and other opportunities to promote understanding of the Convention’s provisions within the ship recycling industry and wider maritime community.  I think he will remain in the history of IMO as the father of Ship Recycling Convention.
Many of you also are aware that Chris Young of the Legal Office, who has been always providing very sound legal advice for this Committee, is due to retire by the end of this year. So I also wish to express my appreciation and thanks for his contributions.
So now Mr Chairman, distinguished delegates,
Before I conclude my remarks, I wish to take this opportunity to remind delegates that we will be holding, next week, a Diplomatic Conference on the agreement to implement the Torrremolinos Fishing Vessel Safety Protocol in Cape Town, South Africa next week, and also on the 17th and 18th of October, we are holding World Maritime Day parallel event in Bahrain and the invitation is already circulated.  Your participation is therefore very welcome and I look forward to meeting you at these events.
Now and finally it is time to stop the work and to relax.  Please, do join in the traditional ‘end of MEPC’ drinks in the Delegates’ Lounge.  With these words, I wish you all a safe journey back home for those who have to travel and a nice evening today and also, some of them, good solid sleep tonight and particularly I am talking about the staff of the Secretariat, those who are members of the IMO football team who hasa very important march tomorrow, and all of you have a nice weekend.
Thank you.