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IMO Briefing: MEPC 67 meets 13-17 October

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The IMO's HQ's in London

The IMO’s HQ’s in London

Polar Code and ballast water management on agenda at IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee

Preview: Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), 67th session, 13 to 17 October 2014

The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) meets for its 67th session from 13 to 17 October 2014, at IMO Headquarters in London.
Items on the agenda include the review of environmental provisions in the draft Polar Code and associated draft MARPOL amendments to make the Code mandatory; the implementation of the Ballast Water Management convention; consideration of proposed amendments to MARPOL; consideration of the 2014 greenhouse gas study update and further work on the implementation of energy-efficiency regulations.
Draft Polar Code environmental provisions to be reviewed
The MEPC is expected to review the environmental requirements under the proposed draft mandatory International Code for ships operating in polar waters (Polar Code), and the associated MARPOL amendments to make the Code mandatory with a view to approval at this session ahead of adoption at the next session (MEPC 68, scheduled for May 2015). An intersessional working group will meet ahead of the MEPC session to review the requirements and report to the Committee.
???????????The draft Polar Code covers the full range of design, construction, equipment, operational, training, search and rescue and environmental protection matters relevant to ships operating in waters surrounding the two poles. Draft environmental provisions include requirements covering prevention of pollution by oil; by noxious liquid substances; by sewage; and by garbage.
BWM status and technologies to be reviewed
The MEPC will review the status of the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention), 2004, which is close to receiving enough ratifications to meet the entry into force (tonnage) criteria.  The number of Contracting Governments is currently 41, representing 30.25% of the world’s merchant fleet tonnage. The BWM Convention will enter into force 12 months after the date on which not fewer than 30 States, the combined merchant fleets of which constitute not less than 35% of the world’s gross tonnage, will have ratified it.
The Committee will consider a number of proposals aimed at supporting implementation of the BWM treaty.  Draft guidelines for port State control under the BWM Convention, which have been approved by the Sub-Committee on Implementation of IMO Instruments (III), will be considered with a view to adoption. The MEPC has been invited to decide on the parts of the draft guidelines related to sampling and indicative analysis for verifying compliance/non-compliance with the convention.
The MEPC is also expected to consider submissions related to a proposed resolution on measures to be taken to facilitate the BWM Convention’s entry into force as well as a draft plan and terms of reference for a proposed study on implementation of the ballast water standard described in regulation D-2 of the BWM Convention.
Proposed draft guidance on stripping operations using eductors will also be considered.
Meanwhile, further ballast water management systems that make use of active substances will be considered for Basic Approval (one system) and Final Approval (three systems), when the MEPC considers the reports of the 28th and 29th meetings of the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environment Protection (GESAMP) Ballast Water Working Group.
Draft amendments to MARPOL  set for adoption
The MEPC will consider, with a view to adoption, draft amendments to:
• MARPOL Annex I regulation 43 (Special requirements for the use or carriage of oils in the Antarctic area), to prohibit ships from carrying heavy grade oil on board as ballast;
• MARPOL Annex VI, concerning regulation 2 (Definitions),  regulation 13 (Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) and the Supplement to the International Air Pollution Prevention Certificate (IAPP Certificate), in order to include reference to gas as fuel and to gas-fuelled engines;
• MARPOL Annex III, concerning the appendix on criteria for the identification of harmful substances in packaged form; and
• MARPOL Annex V, to replace the Record of Garbage Discharge with an updated version.
Third IMO GHG Study 2014 to be presented
The MEPC will have for its consideration the updated study on greenhouse gas emissions from ships.
The Third IMO GHG Study 2014 estimates that international shipping emitted 796 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) in 2012, against 847 million tonnes in 2007 (according to the Second IMO GHG Study 2009).
This represented 2.2% of the global emissions of CO2 in 2012, against 2.7% in 2007.
However, the “business as usual” scenarios continue to indicate that those emissions are likely to grow by between 50% and 250% in the period to 2050, depending on future economic and energy developments.
Energy-efficiency measures for ships to be considered
The MEPC is expected to continue its work on further developing guidelines to support the uniform implementation of the regulations on energy-efficiency for ships that entered into force on 1 January 2013.
During the session, the MEPC will consider draft amendments to the Guidelines on survey and certification of the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) and draft amendments to the 2013 Interim Guidelines for determining minimum propulsion power to maintain the manoeuvrability of ships in adverse conditions.
Meanwhile, the report of a correspondence group, which was established to consider the development of a data collection system for fuel consumption of ships, including identification of the core elements of such a system, will be put forward for consideration.
Bunker delivery note amendments to be considered
The MEPC will consider proposed draft amendments to the Information to be included in the bunker delivery note (appendix V of MARPOL Annex VI), in order to cover the use of approved equivalent means of compliance.
Sulphur review methodology
The MEPC will consider an interim report from the correspondence group developing the methodology and terms of reference for the review, required under MARPOL Annex VI, regulation 14 (Sulphur Oxides (SOx) and Particulate Matter), on the availability of compliant fuel oil to meet the requirements set out in the regulation.
The sulphur content (expressed in terms of % m/m – that is, by weight) of fuel oil used on board ships is required to be a maximum of 3.50% m/m (outside an Emission Control Area (ECA)), falling to 0.50% m/m on and after 1 January 2020. Depending on the outcome of a review, to be completed by 2018, as to the availability of compliant fuel oil, this requirement could be deferred to 1 January 2025.
Within ECAs, fuel oil sulphur content must be no more than 1.00% m/m; falling to 0.10% m/m on and after 1 January 2015.
Fuel oil quality
The MEPC will consider proposals to develop possible quality control measures, prior to fuel oil being delivered to a ship.
Black carbon definition to be considered
The MEPC is expected to consider a definition for “black carbon” emissions from international shipping, taking into account the outcome of the Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR 1), with a view to identifying appropriate methods for measuring black carbon emissions from international shipping and considering possible control measures to reduce the impact of black carbon emissions from international shipping.
Ship recycling convention implementation
The MEPC is expected to consider the report of a correspondence group which was tasked with developing threshold values, exemptions and bulk listings applicable to the materials to be listed in Inventories of Hazardous Materials, required under the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009.


IMO – the International Maritime Organization – is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.

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