Mrs. Isabelle Rosabrunetto, Permanent Representative of Monaco to IMO, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters, London, to deposit the instrument of accession, on 14 May.

A study on the human health impacts of SOx emissions from ships, submitted to IMO’s MEPC in 2016 by Finland, estimated that by not reducing the SOx limit for ships from 2020, the air pollution from ships would contribute to more than 570,000 additional premature deaths worldwide between 2020-2025.

So a reduction in the limit for sulphur in fuel oil used onboard will have tangible health benefits, particularly for populations living close to ports and major shipping routes.

MARPOL Annex VI, first adopted in 1997, limits the main air pollutants contained in ships exhaust gas, including sulphur oxides (SOx) and nitrous oxides (NOx), and prohibits deliberate emissions of ozone depleting substances (ODS). MARPOL Annex VI also regulates shipboard incineration, and the emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC) from tankers.

Following entry into force of MARPOL Annex VI on 19 May 2005, the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), at its 53rd session (July 2005), agreed to revise MARPOL Annex VI with the aim of significantly strengthening the emission limits in light of technological improvements and implementation experience. As a result of three years examination, MEPC 58 (October 2008) adopted the revised MARPOL Annex VI and the associated NOx Technical Code 2008, which entered into force on 1 July 2010.

The main changes to MARPOL Annex VI are a progressive reduction globally in emissions of SOx, NOx and particulate matter and the introduction of emission control areas (ECAs) to reduce emissions of those air pollutants further in designated sea areas.

Under the revised MARPOL Annex VI, the global sulphur cap will be reduced from current 3.50% to 0.50%, effective from 1 January 2020, subject to a feasibility review to be completed no later than 2018.