The Sub-Committee will continue its work on revising the 2015 Guidelines for scrubbers. The revision is aimed at enhancing the uniform application of the guidelines, ahead of recent technical developments and experience gathered from approvals and operation of such alternative compliance systems.


In addition, work on evaluating and harmonizing rules and guidance on the discharges from exhaust gas cleaning systems will also begin. To help with the discussions, a report from a task team established by the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP) has been submitted.

This report contains the conclusions of the task team regarding available evidence on the environmental effects of discharge water from scrubbers, as well as recommendations on the data, tools and approach that could be used as basis for conducting a risk assessment of the possible effects of discharges.

Moreover, marine biosafety is also high on the agenda. The Sub-Committee will review a proposed amendment to the IMO Convention for the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships (AFS Convention), to include controls on the biocide cybutryne. The AFS Convention already bans the use of biocides using organotin compounds.

What is more IMO’s work to prevent the spread of potentially harmful invasive aquatic species is continuing. The Sub-Committee will be revising the guidance on commissioning testing of ballast water management systems. Such systems may be used on ships to meet the requirements of IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention, which has been in force since 2017 and aims to prevent the spread of harmful species in ballast water.

Invasive species can also hitch a ride on the outside of ships. The Sub-Committee will review the IMO Biofouling Guidelines, which provide a globally consistent approach to the management of biofouling.

Finally, the Sub-Committee will carry on with agenda items aimed at minimizing the impact of shipping on the fragile Arctic environment. It is expected to progress work on developing measures to reduce the risks of use and carriage of heavy fuel oil as fuel by ships in Arctic waters; and on reducing the impact on the Arctic of Black Carbon emissions from international shipping.