Maritime Transport is by far the most environmentally sustainable and energy efficient mode of transport. As per the IMO study in 2014, the contribution of shipping was just 2.2% of total GHG emissions. Nobody can blame shipping as the main cause of the disaster of our planet. However, shipping community is ready to take all necessary measures and to contribute its fair sharing to the effort of reduction of GHG.

IMO Initial Strategy on GHG emissions reduction

After almost ten years of deliberation, in April 2018, IMO adopted the ‘initial strategy’ with a vision to phase out GHG from shipping in this century; but of course there is a great difference between vision and an achievable target.

Cyprus welcomes the adoption of the strategy for the reduction of GHG emissions from ships and its review that the initial strategy is ambitious, but at the same time realistic and achievable. The strategy defines short, medium and long term measures. Short term measures under consideration are for example the EEDI improvement, speed management and optimization, operational measures through SEEMP to address emissions from methane and volatile organic compounds. Mid-term measures include possible adoption market based measures. It is expected that quite soon proposals will be submitted for consideration by IMO, and from past experience there will be ideas either to adopt an ETS or a levy system. Cyprus is ready to work within IMO in order to define and implement international agreed measures.

Collection of data is a tool of identifying further measures on reduction of GHG emissions. Unfortunately, it is well known that there are two systems currently in place: the EU MRV and the IMO DCS. These are similar systems, but not identical. Soon there will be a development at EU level to amend the regulation. The full alignment of the two systems propably will not be achievedon the upcoming procedure by the EU. In the next few months, the EU system will publish the first results, by 30 of June, the document of compliance should be placed on board. Currently, the IMO system is still on the process of collecting data.

Sulphur cap

The 2020 sulphur cap is the most crucial issue in our days. The implementation of this regulation is of vital importance for the preservation of the environment, as well as the human health. The regulation will definitely come into force in January 1st of 2020 and there is no chance for any deadline extension. So, prepare yourself for the implementation of the Sulphur cap regulation. As from 1st of March 2020, the carriage on board of non-compliant fuel is prohibited. In other words, from 1st of January of 2020 you cannot use non-compliant fuel, and you have only two months to get rid of any non-compliant fuel on board. Therefore, prepare yourself to be in a position to avoid having enormous quantities of non-compliant fuels, because my prediction is that you will pay to get rid of it and not to receive back the value of this fuel.

Exhaust gas cleaning systems

Cyprus accepts many possible solutions to achieve the 2020 regulation, as for example the use of compliant fuel, alternative fuel, scrubbers, the boil of gasses method, etc. Procedurally and in the case of using scrubbers is considered to be an equivalent arrangement. I am insisting on that because you will need to consent of the administration. It is not a procedure between the ship and the RO. You need the consent of the administration. The administration should report this to the IMO through the GISIS system. If your ship is not listed on the GISIS system, then you may be having problems with PSC authorities. In an effort to support companies in the implementation the Sulphur cap regulation, IMO prepared a guideline on that.

Ballast Water

After hard deliberation the BWM Convention was amended and the provision of existing ships are adaptable up to 2024. So the actual period of implementation is between 2019 and 2024. Operators should be proactive enough, choose a system on time, make arrangement for retrofitting of the system, because it takes time.

Ships recycling

Companies should pay particular attention on EU regulation on ships recycling. As from December 2016, EU flagged ships are to be recycled on to approved facilities. There is a list of approved facilities in the EU website. As from the beginning of this year, new ships should have on board an inventory certificate accompanied by an approved inventory of hazardous materials (IHM). In addition of that, a procedure should be on board on how to maintain the IHM. It is a living document, so you should have a procedure on how to monitor it and amend it. For existing ships, this application is mandatory as from the end of 2020.

Ships to be recycled before the end of 2020 – that means existing ships – should prepare an inventory of hazardous materials. All parts should obtain a ship recycling plan by an approved yard, and the ROs based on those documents, after survey, should issue the ready for recycling certificate. After 2020 everything will be smooth; the certificate will be required to be placed onboard all ships.

Marine litter

Regarding marine litter, an action plan was adopted for issues like using the garbage record book for ships greater than 100 GT, marking of fishing gears, and the discharges of greywater that may include micro-plastics. We are conscious about that part of the action plan and we will actively participate within  IMO on how any new regulations will be developed.

In conclusion, Cyprus is in favour of agreed measures within IMO to define and implement agreed rules for competitive, safe, secure, efficient, and environmentally friendly shipping.


Above text is an edited version of Mr. Ioannis Efstratiou’s presentation during the 2019 SAFETY4SEA Cyprus Conference.

View his presentation here.

The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and not necessarily those of  SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.

 Mr Ioannis Efstratiou is Senior Marine Surveyor, Cyprus Shipping Deputy Ministry.