The 72nd session of the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 72) was held at the headquarters of the IMO in London from 9 to 13 April. A summary of the outcome is given hereunder for your information.
Please note that this summary has been made based on informal information obtained from participants from ClassNK and Working Papers distributed during MEPC 72 with priority given to disseminating the information as early as practicable.
1. Greenhouse Gases (GHG)
Countermeasures against the GHG emissions from international shipping have been deliberated at IMO, and so far, the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) have been implemented.
At MEPC 70, amendments to MARPOL Annex VI to include the Data Collection System for fuel oil consumption of ships as a measure to further improve the energy efficiency were adopted.
1.1 GHG emission reduction target
The Paris Agreement was adopted by consensus in December 2015 at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP 21) and the ambitious target to limit the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, has been shared among the world. Thereafter, the reduction of GHG emissions from international shipping has been an urgent issue at IMO as well.
At MEPC 70, a roadmap for developing a comprehensive IMO strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships was approved. In accordance with this road map, an initial IMO strategy for reduction of GHG emissions needs to be developed by MEPC 72.
It has been discussed to develop the IMO strategy from MEPC 71. At this session, the Initial IMO strategy including below provisions was adopted. To develop a follow-up action of the Initial IMO Strategy, a meeting of intersessional working group will be held in September, prior to MEPC 73.
Aims to phase GHG emissions out from international shipping as soon as possible in this century.
CO2 reduction target per transport work
Reduce CO2 emissions by at least 40% by 2030, pursuing
efforts towards 70% by 2050, compared to 2008.
GHG reduction target from international shipping
Reduce the total annual GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050, compared to 2008.
Candidate measures to reduce GHG emissions from ships
1.2 Review of technological developments for EEDI
Regulation 21.6 of MARPOL Annex VI requires, at the beginning of phase 1 and at the midpoint of phase 2, a review of the status of technological developments which may contribute to the improvement of EEDI should be conducted. It also requires, if proven necessary, to amend the subsequent requirements, i.e. “when to start the phase 3,” “the EEDI reference line parameters” and “the reduction rate”.
At MEPC 71, it was agreed to establish a correspondence group (CG), coordinated by Japan, to consider an early implementation of phase 3 and possible introduction of phase 4 and report to MEPC 74.
At this session, the progress of the work at CG was reported, in which a possible exemption of ice-strengthened ships constructed in accordance with ice classes higher than IA Super from EEDI requirements was proposed by CG. The Committee instructed the CG to consider further how ice-classed ships should be defined and excluded from the EEDI regulations.
1.3 Data collection system
Amendments to MARPOL Annex VI to introduce the data collection system (DCS) for fuel oil consumption of ships entered into force on 1 March 2018, and carrying out of the data collection will be mandated from 1 January 2019. A review of the revised SEEMP which added the Ship Fuel Oil Consumption Data Collection Plan (DCP), where a description of the methodology for data collecting is provided, should be completed prior to the data collection.
At this session, MEPC circular which defines a form of Confirmation of Compliance to be issued upon the review of SEEMP was approved. Further, in the view point on a smooth implementation of these requirements, it was also agreed to specify in this MEPC circular an encouragement for early submission of the revised SEEMP.
2.Air pollution - Sulphur content of fuel oils
At MEPC 70, it was agreed to set a global Sulphur limit of 0.5% from 1 January 2020.
At this session, draft amendments to MARPOL Annex VI for a prohibition on the carriage of non-compliant fuel oil for combustion purpose with a sulphur content exceeding 0.50%, excluding for ships which are provided with exhaust gas cleaning system (EGCS), were approved. The amendments are expected to be adopted at MEPC 73.
3.Ballast Water Management Convention
Ballast Water Management Convention was adopted in 2004 in order to prevent the adverse effects to the marine environment caused by the transfer of ballast water, entered into force on 8 September 2017. The Convention requires ships to conduct ballast water exchange offshore (Regulation D-1) or through Ballast Water Management Systems which meet the standard for the discharge of ballast water (Regulation D-2).
3.1 Code for approval of Ballast Water Management Systems
At MEPC 70, the revised G8 Guidelines was adopted to strengthen testing requirements for approval of the Systems. MEPC 70 also agreed to rename the G8 Guidelines as Code after the entry into force of the Convention.
At this session, the renamed Code for approval of Ballast Water Management systems (BWMS Code) was adopted. Further, amendments to Guidance on scaling of ballast water management systems (BWM.2 /Circ.33) and Guidance for Administrations on the type approval process for ballast water management systems in accordance with Guidelines (G8) (BWM.2/Circ.28 as amended by BWM.2/Circ.43) ware also approved.
Ballast Water Management Systems which are installed on or after 28 October 2020 should be approved in accordance with BWMS Code.
3.2 Sampling and Analysis of Ballast Water at Initial Survey
IMO Assembly 30 (A 30), held in the last year, adopted Resolution A.1120(30) on Survey Guidelines under the Harmonized System of Survey and Certification (HSSC), 2017. The new survey provision related to sampling and analysis of treated ballast water at initial survey for the BWM Convention was included.
In light of the above, it was pointed out that the sampling and analysis are not required in accordance with the BWM Convention or in the mandatory draft BWMS Code and no procedures for such sampling and analysis method have been developed yet.
As a result of the discussion, there was overwhelming agreement that the sampling and analysis should be carried out while their procedures of how such validation would be carried out should be clarified. Therefore, the Committee invited interested delegations to submit draft Guidance on the validation of the compliance of individual BWMS with regulation D-2 of the BWM Convention in conjunction with their commissioning.
3.3 Experience-building phase (EBP)
At MEPC 68, it was agreed to introduce an experience-building phase (EBP) to gather data in order to analyze and address any concerns for implementation of the BWM Convention.
At this session, BWM Circular providing analytical procedures for the data gathering and analysis plan for the EBP was approved. It is scheduled that the EBP will last for 5 years from the entry-into-force of the BWM Convention with following timelines.
2017 : entry into force of BWMC
2020 : completion of data collection Spring 2022 : completion of data analysis Autumn
2022 : amendments to BWMC to be considered
4. Ship Recycling Convention
The Ship Recycling Convention (Hong Kong International Convention) was adopted in May 2009 for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships. The convention requires a development and maintenance of an Inventory of Hazardous Materials which identifies the amount and location of hazardous materials onboard ships, and the ships shall only be recycled at ship recycling facilities authorized by the competent authority.
The Convention will enter into force 24 months after ratification by 15 states, representing 40% of world merchant shipping by gross tonnage, and a maximum annual ship recycling volume not less than 3 per cent of the combined tonnage of the ratifying States.
At this session, Japan informed their recent efforts to encourage the entry into force of the Convention and the significant advancements that Japan and India had made towards accession to the Hong Kong Convention. Further, as Turkey informed that they would ratify the Convention within a few days, following 6 States that had already ratified the Convention (i.e. Belgium, Republic of the Congo, Denmark, France, Norway and Panama).
5. Work programme for new outputs
Control and management of ships' biofouling
MEPC 62 adopted the 2011 Guidelines for the control and management of ships' biofouling to minimize the transfer of invasive aquatic species (MEPC.207(62)), which is non-mandatory.
At this session, it was proposed to review the Guidelines for effective use, with a view to amending the Guidelines if required. As a result of the discussion, MEPC 72 agreed to instruct the Sub-Committee on pollution prevention and response (PPR 6) to consider this matter.
5.2. Plastics and micro-plastics in the marine environment
With a view to tackling the problem of plastics in the oceans, MARPOL Annex V prohibits discharge of plastics from vessels. However, it was often pointed out that this prohibition regulation was not effective and that some additional actions were needed at IMO level to reduce plastic pollution in the marine environment. As a result of the discussion, MEPC 72 agreed to consider this issue at MEPC and at the Sub-Committee on pollution prevention and response (PPR 6).
5.3 Use and carriage of heavy fuel oils in the Arctic area
Regulation 43 of MARPOL Annex V prohibits carriage of heavy grade oils as cargo or its use as fuel in the Antarctic area. Introducing of regulations applicable to the Arctic area had also been actively discussed until this session.
As a result of the discussion, it was agreed to task PPR Sub-Committee to consider a definition of Heavy Fuel Oils (HFO) and to prepare guidelines on mitigation measures to reduce risks of use and carriage of HFO as fuel. Further, the Committee urged Member States to submit concrete proposals to MEPC 73 on potential impacts of the measures on Arctic communities and economies.
6. Amendments to mandatory instruments
MEPC 72 adopted amendments to mandatory instruments as follows:
6.1 Reference with BWMS Code
Amendments to regulation A-1 and D-3 were adopted to refer BWMS Code (Refer to 3.1 above).
Entry into force: 13 October 2019
6.2 Reference line for ro-ro cargo ships and ro-ro passenger ships
Amendments to MARPOL VI were adopted to increase the reference line for ro-ro cargo ships and ro-ro passenger ships which have difficulties to comply with phase 2 requirements.
Entry into force: 1 September 2019
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