The 74th session of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 74) took place on 13-17 May at IMO headquarters in London, with key environmental subjects on its agenda, aimed at supporting the achievement of the objectives set out in the initial IMO strategy on reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ships, in line with the Paris Agreement under UNFCCC and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Draft amendments for Energy Efficiency
The MEPC approved, for adoption at the next session in April 2020, amendments to MARPOL Annex VI to significantly strengthen the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) “phase 3” requirements.
The draft amendments bring forward the entry into effect date of phase 3 to 2022, from 2025, for several ship types, including gas carriers, general cargo ships and LNG carriers. This means that new ships built from that date must be significantly more energy efficient than the baseline.
For container ships, the EEDI reduction rate is enhanced, significantly for larger ship sizes, as follows:
- For a containership of 200,000 DWT and above, the EEDI reduction rate is set at 50% from 2022
- For a containership of 120,000 DWT and above but less than 200,000 DWT, 45% from 2022
- For a containership of 80,000 DWT and above but less than 120,000 DWT, 40% from 2022
- For a containership of 40,000 DWT and above but less than 80,000 DWT, 35% from 2022
- For a containership of 15,000 DWT and above but less than 40,000 DWT, 30% from 2022
The MEPC also agreed terms of reference for a correspondence group to look into the introduction of a possible “phase 4” of EEDI requirements.
Fourth IMO GHG Study
The terms of reference for the Fourth IMO GHG Study were agreed and the tendering process will begin with an invitation to tender issued shortly. The IMO Secretariat will issue a circular letter for procuring the services of the contractor.
The study will include:
- Inventory of current global emissions of GHGs and relevant substances emitted from ships of 100 GT and above engaged in international voyages. The inventory should include total annual GHG emission series from 2012 to 2018, or as far as statistical data are available.
- GHGs are defined as the six gases initially considered under the UNFCCC process: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). The inventory should also include other relevant substances that may contribute to climate change, including Black Carbon (BC).
- Estimates of carbon intensity (estimates of world fleet’s CO2 emissions per transport work, from 2012 to 2018, or as far as statistical data are available).
- Possible estimates of carbon intensity of international shipping for the year 2008 (the baseline year for the levels of ambition identified in the Initial Strategy).
- Scenarios for future international shipping emissions 2018-2050
- A Steering Committee will be established to act as a focal point for MEPC, to review and monitor progress and confirm that the Study meets the terms of reference. It is intended that the work could begin in Autumn 2019, with a view to the final report of the Study being submitted to MEPC 76, to be held in Autumn 2020. (The previous, Third IMO GHG Study, was published in 2014).
Cooperation with ports to reduce emissions from shipping
MEPC adopted resolution MEPC.323(74) on Invitation to Member States to encourage voluntary cooperation between the port and shipping sectors to contribute to reducing GHG emissions from ships.
This could include regulatory, technical, operational and economic actions, such as the provision of: Onshore Power Supply (preferably from renewable sources); safe and efficient bunkering of alternative low-carbon and zero-carbon fuels; incentives promoting sustainable low-carbon and zero-carbon shipping; and support for the optimization of port calls including facilitation of just-in-time arrival of ships.
Procedure for assessing impacts on States of candidate measures
The MEPC approved the Procedure for assessing impacts on States of candidate measures for reduction of GHG emissions from ships. The procedure identifies four steps:
Step 1: initial impact assessment, to be submitted as part of the initial proposal to the Committee for candidate measures;
Step 2: submission of commenting document(s), if any;
Step 3: comprehensive response, if requested by commenting document(s); and
Step 4: comprehensive impact assessment, if required by the MEPC.
Impact assessments should be evidence-based and should take into account, as appropriate, analysis tools and models, such as, cost-effectiveness analysis tools, e.g. maritime transport cost models, trade flows models, impact on Gross Domestic Product (GDP); updated Marginal Abatement Cost Curves (MACCs); and economic trade models, transport models and combined trade-transport models.
Multi-donor trust fund for GHG
The MEPC agreed to establish a voluntary multi-donor trust fund (“GHG TC-Trust Fund”), to provide a dedicated source of financial support for technical cooperation and capacity-building activities to support the implementation of the Initial IMO Strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships.
Discussion of short-term candidate measures
The MEPC discussed various candidate short-term measures, including strengthening the energy efficiency requirements for existing ships, speed and other technical and operational measures. In view of the vast number of proposals, the working group focused on how to consider, organize and streamline proposals on candidate short-term measures.
The intersessional working group session will further consider candidate short-term measure, including concrete proposals to improve the operational energy efficiency of existing ships.
The MEPC also considered concrete proposals on candidate mid-/long-term measures, in particular measures aimed at encouraging the uptake of alternative low-carbon and zero-carbon fuels.
Terms of reference for sixth and seventh intersessional working group sessions
The MEPC approved the terms of reference for the sixth and seventh meetings of the Intersessional Working Group on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships – to be held, respectively, 11 to 15 November 2019 and back to back with MEPC 75 (in March 2020 ahead of MEPC 75, 30 March to 3 April 2020), subject to endorsement by the IMO Council (C122, 15-19 July).
The intersessional working group will:
- further consider concrete proposals to improve the operational energy efficiency of existing ships, with a view to developing draft amendments to Chapter 4 of MARPOL Annex VI and associated guidelines, as appropriate;
- further consider concrete proposals to reduce methane slip and emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs);
- consider a draft MEPC resolution urging Member States to develop and update a voluntary National Action Plan (NAP) with a view to contributing to reducing GHG emissions from international shipping, and develop associated guidelines, as appropriate;
- further consider concrete proposals to encourage the uptake of alternative low-carbon and zero-carbon fuels, including the development of lifecycle GHG/carbon intensity guidelines for all relevant types of fuels and incentive schemes, as appropriate;
- consider the development of further actions on capacity-building, technical cooperation, research and development, including support for assessment of impacts and support for implementation of measures; and
- consider other concrete proposals for candidate measures.
IMO-Norway GreenVoyage-2050 project
The IMO-Norway GreenVoyage-2050 project was launched (13 May), to respond to the need to provide technical assistance to States and to support technology transfer and promote green technology uptake to improve energy efficiency and reduce GHG emissions throughout the maritime sector. (See press briefing 08/2019.)
Implementation of the sulphur 2020 limit
- Adopted 2019 Guidelines for consistent implementation of the 0.50% sulphur limit under MARPOL Annex VI – with sections on the 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 samples of fuel oil used on board; a standard reporting format for fuel oil non-availability (fuel oil non-availability report (FONAR); and possible safety implications relating to fuel oils meeting the 0.50% sulphur limit. The 2019 Guidelines on consistent implementation of 0.50% sulphur limit under MARPOL Annex VI adopted by resolution MEPC.320(74) are available here.
- Adopted 2019 Guidelines for port State control under MARPOL Annex VI Chapter 3, providing updated enforcement guidance for provisions including regulation 13 “nitrogen oxides” and regulation 14 “sulphur oxides and particulate matter”.
- Approved Guidance on indication of ongoing compliance in the case of the failure of a single monitoring instrument, and recommended actions to take if the exhaust gas cleaning system (EGCS) fails to meet the provision of the Guidelines.
- Approved Guidance for port State control on contingency measures for addressing non-compliant fuel oil. The guidance covers possible actions to be taken, following discussions between ship, flag State and port State, when a ship is found to have on board non-compliant fuel oil either as a consequence of compliant fuel oil being not available when the ship bunkered fuel oil or the ship identifying through post bunkering testing that the fuel oil on board is non-compliant.
- Approved the 2019 Guidelines for on board sampling for the verification of the sulphur content of the fuel oil used on board ships.
- Approved an MSC-MEPC circular on Delivery of compliant fuel oil by suppliers, subject to approval by the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 101) in June. The draft circular says that Members States should urge fuel oil suppliers to take into account, as relevant: MEPC.1/Circ.875 Guidance on best practice for fuel oil purchasers/users for assuring the quality of fuel oil used on board ships; and MEPC.1/Circ.875/Add.1 Guidance on best practice for fuel oil suppliers for assuring the quality of fuel oil delivered to ships.
- Approved Guidance for best practice for Member State/coastal States. This includes best practices intended to assist Member States in carrying out their responsibilities under MARPOL Annex VI, to ensure effective implementation and enforcement of statutory requirements of that Annex. The guidance says that Member States/coastal States should consider actions deemed appropriate, under domestic legal arrangements, with respect to promoting the availability of compliant fuel oils, consistent with regulation 18.1 of MARPOL Annex VI; and Member States or other relevant authorities desiring to do so may decide to establish or promote a licensing scheme for bunker suppliers.
The MEPC 73 in October 2018 had already approved Guidance on the development of a ship implementation plan for the consistent implementation of the 0.50% sulphur limit under MARPOL Annex VI.
A related MARPOL Annex VI amendment to prohibit the carriage of non-compliant fuel oil used by ships, which was adopted last year, is expected to enter into force on 1 March 2020.
Related MARPOL Annex VI amendments approved for future adoption
To support consistent implementation of regulation 14 of MARPOL Annex VI, MEPC approved draft amendments to MARPOL Annex VI to regulations 1, 2, 14 and 18, appendix I and appendix VI of MARPOL Annex VI, with a view to adoption at MEPC 75, with an expected entry force date of September 2021.
The MEPC also approved a circular to encourage early application of the approved amendments to the verification procedures for a MARPOL Annex VI fuel oil sample. The draft amendments cover:
- Draft amendments to Regulation 2 Definitions, to include new definitions for “Sulphur content of fuel oil” – meaning the concentration of sulphur in any fuel oil, measured in % m/m as tested in accordance with standard acceptable to the Organization; “Low-flashpoint fuel”, to mean gaseous or liquid fuel having a flashpoint lower than otherwise permitted under paragraph 2.1.1 of SOLAS regulation II-2/4; “MARPOL delivered sample”, to mean the sample of fuel oil delivered in accordance with regulation 18.8.1 of MARPOL Annex VI; “In-use sample”, to mean the sample of fuel oil in use on a ship; and “On board sample”, to mean the sample of fuel oil intended to be used or carried for use on board that ship.
- Fuel oil sampling and testing – Draft amendments to Regulation 14 Sulphur oxides (SOX) and particulate matter, to add new paragraphs related to in-use and on board fuel oil sampling and testing, to add new paragraphs to require one or more sampling points to be fitted or designated for the purpose of taking representative samples of the fuel oil being used or carried for use on board the ship. The representative samples of the fuel oil being used on board are to be taken in order to verify the fuel oil complies with the regulation.
- Appendix I amendments to the International Air Pollution Prevention (IAPP) certificate – Draft consequential amendments to update the IAPP certificate to add a reference to sampling points and also to note where there is an exemption to the provision for low-flashpoint fuel.
- Appendix VI Fuel verification procedure for MARPOL Annex VI fuel oil sample Draft consequential amendments to verification procedures, to cover verification of the representative samples of in-use fuel oil and on board fuel oil.
IMO sulphur monitoring programme
The MEPC note information provided by the Secretariat on the outcome of the monitoring of the worldwide average sulphur content of marine fuel oils supplied for use on board ships for 2018, based on three sampling and testing service providers. The worldwide average sulphur content (i.e. three-year rolling average) of residual fuel oil was 2.59% and for distillate fuel oil it was 0.08%.
The MEPC approved, in principle, draft amendments to the 2010 Guidelines, as amended for monitoring the worldwide average sulphur content of fuel oils supplied for use on board ships. The draft amendments update the IMO sulphur monitoring programme to take into account the entry into effect of the 0.50% sulphur limit from 1 January 2020 and the potential types of fuel oils which will be used to comply with this limit and will be required.
Some ships use exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS) (“scrubbers”), accepted by their flag States as an alternative equivalent means to meet the sulphur limit requirement.
The Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR) is undertaking a review of the 2015 Guidelines on Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGCS). The guidelines include, among other things, washwater discharge standards.
The MEPC approved a new output on “Evaluation and harmonization of rules and guidance on the discharge of liquid effluents from EGCS into waters, including conditions and areas”, in the 2020-2021 biennial agenda of the PPR Sub-Committee and the provisional agenda for PPR 7 (meeting in February 2020), with a target completion year of 2021. PPR 7 is expected to further review the documents that were submitted to MEPC 74 in relation to the newly approved output, with a view to refining the title and scope of the output and will report the outcome of its consideration to MEPC.
The MEPC also instructed the Secretariat to liaise with the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP), an advisory body that advises the UN system on the scientific aspects of marine environmental protection.
The MEPC requested that, subject to sufficient external funding being provided by Member States and other stakeholders, a GESAMP task team be established to assess the available evidence relating to the environmental impact of discharges of exhaust gas cleaning system effluent, with a view to reporting its findings to PPR 7.
Marine plastic litter
The Committee approved the Terms of Reference for the IMO Study on Marine Plastic Litter from Ships, calling for assessment of the availability of port reception facilities and recycling technologies available to ships, as well as assessment of the volume and types of plastic litter being collected during fishing operations.
Furthermore, in support of the Action Plan to Address Marine Plastic Litter from Ships, the Committee developed a grouping of short-, mid- , long-term and continuous actions to address marine plastic litter from ships. Short-term actions will be referred to relevant sub-committees.
This work to be undertaken on short-term measures is anticipated to begin in 2020, with the goal remaining to complete and implement actions by 2025.
Ballast Water Management
According to data provided by ABS:
- The Committee agreed to an updated unified interpretation (UI) of appendix I (Form of the International Ballast Water Management Certificate) of the BWM Convention.
- The Committee approved a revision of the circular for data gathering and analysis plan for the experiencebuilding phase associated with the BWM Convention.
- The Committee approved amendments to regulations E-1.1 and E-1.5 of the BWM Convention – survey and certification requirements for ballast water management adding confirmation that a commissioning test has been conducted to validate the installation of any BWMS to demonstrate that its mechanical, physical, chemical and biological processes are working properly, taking into account guidelines developed by the Organization.
- The Committee endorsed the view that commissioning testing should begin as soon as possible in accordance with BWM.2/Circ.70. As an interim measure, the Committee urges Administrations to provide the Recognized Organizations, which act on their behalf, with written and clear instructions in relation to the conduct of indicative analysis testing at the time of their commissioning on ships that fly their flag; including what actions are to be taken in the event of testing demonstrating non-compliance.