During his opening speech at the IMO MEPC 66
The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) meets for its 66th session from 31 March to 4 April 2014, at IMO Headquarters in London.
The first day of the Committe was opened with IMO’s Secretary- General, Koji Sekimizu, speech where he addressed the important issues under discussion for this MEPC. In total, 146 documents have been submitted under the 21 items on the agenda for this session.
Mr Sekimizu said that IMO’s top priority is ”accident prevention”, efforts for a reduction of marine casualties.
Other important activities in which IMO will focus, are:
-the verification of the mandatory goal-based ship construction standards for tankers and bulk carriers;
-the accelerated implementation of the Energy Efficiency Design Index
– the timely conduct of the required study on availability of Annex VI-compliant low sulphur fuels in the target year of 2020
Mr Sekimizu highlighted how important is to bring the Ballast Water Management Convention into force. IMO Secretary- General urged all IMO Members to take swift action and bring the Convention into force without further dalay: ”As I have said many times before, we cannot escape from the need for prevention of the global spread of harmful invasive species via transfers of unmanaged ballast waters and sediments, because these harmful transfers are inherently linked to the expansion of shipping. This is, in my view, a risk management measure. Unless we take action now, you never know what problem would happen when, where and in what magnitude in the future. Shipping cannot escape from this issue and we must implement the best technology available now. In this context and as I have said also many times, any work on the unwanted transfer of invasive species through ships’ ballast water and sediments must be done under the Ballast Water Management Convention in force.”
He also send to all Member Governments of more than 130 States which have not yet ratified the BWM Convention to accelerate the ratification progress and be prepared for the global implementation from the beginning of 2016.
Furthermore, during his opening speech, Mr Sekimizu refered to the following issues:
– As regards the prospect of the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships entering into force soon; Legislative initiatives of individual countries, or of regional groups of countries, are welcomed; however, they must be in line with the Convention’s framework and not seek to impose different or additional requirements.
– He presented in brief all the important work on the draft Polar Code and said that all good signs indicate that IMO is able to adopt the Code this year as scheduled.
– He commented the major challenges of air pollution and energy efficiency for this session and encouraged the Committe to progress the work on these issues.
– He called for careful consideration on the finalization and adoption of the draft MARPOL amendments to make the use of the Instruments Implementation Code (III Code) mandatory; on the adoption of draft amendments to MARPOL Annex VI to extend the application of the Energy Efficiency Design Index to LNG carriers, ro-ro cargo ships, ro-ro passenger ships and cruise ships having non-conventional propulsion; and on the approval of a draft MEPC Circular on Guidelines for the reduction of underwater noise from commercial shipping.
IMO’s Secreatry- General opening address during MEPC 66 may be found onIMO’s webiste