The highlight of PPR 5 was that IMO agreed to move forward with a prohibition on the carriage of fuel oil for use on board ships, when that fuel oil is not compliant with a new low sulphur limit which comes into force from 2020.

To assist with consistent implementation, the Sub-Committee agreed to develop a single set of Guidelines covering all relevant aspects and also agreed the outline of draft Guidelines for consistent implementation of regulation 2020 sulphur cap. The guidelines would cover:

  • Preparatory and transitional issues, relating to how ships can prepare for implementation, including relevant time schedules;
  • Impact on fuel and machinery systems resulting from new fuel blends or fuel types;
  • Verification issues and control mechanism and actions, including port State control and in-use fuel oil samples;
  • Fuel oil non-availability: guidance, information sharing and standard reporting format;
  • Safety implications relating to the option of blending fuels;
  • Other useful guidance/information that assist Member States and stakeholders, including guidance addressing quality assurance and integrity of the supply chain.

The Sub-Committee agreed the terms of reference for its Intersessional Meeting on consistent implementation of regulation 14.1.3 of MARPOL Annex VI, to be held 9 to 13 July 2018.

A work plan for the Sub-Committee was agreed, to include:

  • development of the draft Guidelines for consistent implementation of regulation 14.1.3 of MARPOL Annex VI at the intersessional meeting, with a recommendation that these could be presented directly from the working group to MEPC 73 (October 2018);
  • development of draft amendments to MARPOL Annex VI at the intersessional meeting, for finalization at PPR 6 for approval at MEPC 74, with a view to adoption at MEPC 75 (Spring 2020) with an expected entry into force in summer 2021, relating to definition of "Sulphur content" (regulation 2); and testing and verification procedure of in-use fuel oil samples (amendments to regulation 14 and associated consequential amendments to regulation 18 and appendix VI);
  • development of draft amendments, as appropriate, to existing guidelines at the intersessional meeting and finalization at PPR 6 for adoption by MEPC 74, namely to the  2009 Guidelines for port State control under the revised MARPOL Annex VI (resolution MEPC.181(59));  2010 Guidelines for monitoring the worldwide average sulphur content of fuel oils supplied for use on board ships (resolution MEPC.192(61), as amended by resolution MEPC.273(69)); and Guidelines for onboard sampling for the verification of the sulphur content of the fuel oil used on board ships (MEPC.1/Circ.864).

The urgency of the matter was recognised to the extent that MEPC 72 (April 2018) will be requested to consider whether the output on ship implementation planning for 2020 from the PPR intersessional meeting in July 2018 should be forwarded to MEPC 73 (October 2018).

Other PPR 5 highlights included:

  • Black carbon- reporting protocol and most appropriate measurement methods agreed: The Sub-Committee agreed the Reporting protocol for voluntary measurement studies to collect Black Carbon data as well as most appropriate Black Carbon measurement methods for data collection.
  • Draft Guidelines for discharge of exhaust gas recirculation bleed-off water agreed: The Sub-Committee agreed draft 2018 Guidelines for the discharge of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) bleed-off water, for submission to MEPC 73, with a view to adoption.
  • Ballast Water Management guidance agreed: The Sub-Committee considered matters relating to the implementation of the BWM Convention.
  • Revised Guidelines for FPSOs and FSUs agreed: The Sub-Committee agreed the 2018 Guidelines for the application of MARPOL Annex I requirements to floating production, storage and offloading facilities (FPSOs) and floating storage units (FSUs), for submission to MEPC 73, for consideration, with a view to adoption.
  • Guidelines and amendments for use of electronic record books agreed: The Sub-Committee agreed to draft Guidelines for the use of electronic record books under MARPOL, for submission to MEPC 73 for consideration, with a view to approval in principle and subsequent adoption at MEPC 74, in conjunction with associated draft amendments to MARPOL and the NOX Technical Code.
  • Guidelines for the use of dispersants agreed: The Sub-Committee finalized, for approval by MEPC, part IV of the Guidelines for the use of dispersants for combating oil pollution at sea, which focuses on the sub-sea application of dispersant.
  • Discharge of high-viscosity products – draft MARPOL amendments agreed: The Sub-Committee agreed draft amendments to MARPOL Annex II to strengthen discharge requirements for tank washings containing high-viscosity, solidifying and persistent floating products (such as certain vegetable oils), in specified sea areas. The draft amendments follow concerns about the environmental impact of permissible discharges of such products.
  • Revision of IBC Code completed: The Sub-Committee completed its revision of the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (IBC Code), including revised product lists and index. The revised chapters 17 (Summary of minimum requirements), 18 (List of products to which the code does not apply), 19 (Index of Products Carried in Bulk) and 21 (Criteria for assigning carriage requirements for products subject to the IBC Code) and other amendments will be forwarded to MEPC 73 and to the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 100) later in 2018 for approval and subsequent adoption.
  • Cybutryne controls in anti-fouling convention to be considered: The Sub-Committee considered an initial proposal to include controls on the biocide cybutryne in the Convention for the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships (AFS Convention) and agreed that a more detailed review of cybutryne is warranted. The development of the proposed amendment to the AFS Convention is expected to take two sessions, concluding in 2020.

Further details on the issues discussed may be found here.