Air Pollution, Energy Efficiency and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Air Pollution

In 1997, a new annex was added to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). The regulations for the Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships (Annex VI) seek to minimize airborne emissions from ships (SOx, NOx, ODS, VOC shipboard incineration) and their contribution to local and global ai r pollution and environmental problems. Annex VI entered into force on 19 May 2005 and a revised Annex VI with significantly tightened emissions limits was adopted in October 2008 which entered into force on 1 July 2010.

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Energy Efficiency

In 2011, IMO adopted mandatory technical and operational energy efficiency measures which are expected to significantly reduce the amount of CO2 emissions from international shipping. These mandatory measures (EEDI/SEEMP) entered into force on 1 January 2013.

IMO has adopted important guidelines aimed at supporting implementation of the mandatory measures to increase energy efficiency and reduce GHG emissions from international shipping, paving the way for the regulations on EEDI and SEEMP to be smoothly implemented by Administrations and industry.

The expected growth of world trade represents a challenge to meeting a future target for emissions required to achieve stabilization in global temperatures and so IMO has begun consideration of further technical and operational measures to enhance the energy efficiency of ships.

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Data Collection System

Amendments to MARPOL Annex VI on Data collection system for fuel oil consumption of ships entered into force on 1 March 2018.

Under the amendments, ships of 5,000 gross tonnage and above are required to collect consumption data for each type of fuel oil they use, as well as other, additional, specified data including proxies for transport work.  The aggregated data is reported to the flag State after the end of each calendar year and the flag State, having determined that the data has been reported in accordance with the requirements, issues a Statement of Compliance to the ship.  Flag States are required to subsequently transfer this data to an IMO Ship Fuel Oil Consumption Database.  IMO will be required to produce an annual report to MEPC, summarizing the data collected.

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Technical co-operation and transfer of technology

IMO adopted a resolution on Promotion of Technical Co-operation and Transfer of Technology relating to the Improvement of Energy Efficiency of Ships (resolution MEPC.229(65)) and is focusing its efforts on technical cooperation and capacity building to ensure smooth and effective implementation and enforcement of the new regulations worldwide.  To that effect, IMO is executing several Projects in all regions of the world to support the implementation of measures to address GHG emissions from international shipping.

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Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships

In 2012, international shipping was estimated to have contributed about 2.2% to the global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2). Although international shipping is the most energy efficient mode of mass transport and only a modest contributor to overall CO2 emissions, a global approach to further improve its energy efficiency and effective emission control is needed as sea transport will continue growing apace with world trade.

As already acknowledged by the Kyoto Protocol, CO2 emissions from international shipping cannot be attributed to any particular national economy due to its global nature and complex operation. Therefore, IMO has been energetically pursuing the limitation and reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international shipping, in recognition of the magnitude of the climate change challenge and the intense focus on this topic.

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