The IMO’s Committee on Marine Environment Protection held its 65th Session at IMO Headquarters on Monday 13 through Friday 17 May 2013 under the chairmanship of Mr Andreas Chrysostomou (CYPRUS); the Vice-Chairman (Chairman elect for 2014) Mr Arsenio Dominguez (PANAMA), was also present.

A Review Group (RG) on Ballast Water Treatment Technologies, 3 Working Groups (WG) and 2 Drafting Groups (DG) were formed and chaired as follows:

RG1 Harmful aquatic organisms in ballast water, Mr Chris Wiley (CANADA)
WG1 Recycling of Ships, Ms Kristine Gilson (USA)
WG2 MEPC resolution on promotion of technical co-operation and transfer of technology, Mr Arsenio Dominguez (PANAMA)
WG3 Air Pollution and Energy Efficiency, Mr Koichi Yoshida (JAPAN)
DG1 Amendments to Mandatory Instruments, Mr P Nelson (AUSTRALIA)
DG2 Amendment to MARPOL Annex V and associated guidelines, Mr Zafrul Alam (SINGAPORE)

The agenda was extremely full and the meeting over-ran, finishing in a sprint at 1900 on the 5th and final day; a 104 page draft report of the proceedings bears witness to the sheer volume and spread of the deliberations. Following is a selection of salient points from the meeting of most interest to Intermanager members:

• BALLAST WATER. There are now 36 contracting Governments to the BWM Convention representing 29.07% of world tonnage. During its previous 2 meetings, the GESAMP-PWWG had reviewed 8 proposals for BW management systems making use of Active Substances. In the event, Basic Approval was granted to: Van Oord (NL), REDOX (NORWAY), and Blue Zone (REPUBLIC OF KOREA) whilst that for HyCator (INDIA) was refused pending further development. Final Approval was granted to: AQUARIUS (NL), EcoGuardian (REPUBLIC OF KOREA) and Ocean Doctor (CHINA) but PERACLEAN Ocean Sky System (JAPAN) was rejected

The total number of type-approved ballast water management systems now stands at 33.

The outcomes of BLG 17, FSI 21 AND C 109 concerning the BWM Convention were all discussed and taken into consideration before instructions were given to the BW Review Group, RG1, which subsequently recommended that the Committee:

(1) Note the need for clarification in the draft Assembly resolution on Application of the BW Convention, with respect to renewal dates related to statutory or classification certificates or the anniversary date of delivery of the ships for the purposes of determining the renewal survey date, which will effectively determine the date of compliance with regulation D-2 under the approach of the Assembly resolution, and
(2) Be assured that the inconsistencies between the Methodology for information gathering and conduct of work of the GESAMP-BWWG will be resolved.

The Committee approved a draft Assembly (28) resolution on Application of the BWM Convention, a draft circular on “major conversion”, an action plan with respect to the use of drinking water as ballast water, a draft circular on Application to Mobile Offshore Units, amended terms of reference for the FSI 21 correspondence group developing Guidelines for port State control under the BWM Convention and re-establishment of the review group at MEPC 66.

• SHIP RECYCLING. Following WG1 deliberations, note was taken of further development of threshold values and exemptions applicable to the materials that are to be listed in Inventories of Hazardous Materials and consequent changes to the 2011 Guidelines. With regard to the threshold value for asbestos, the Maritime Safety Committee will be invited to give its consideration in view of its expertise on the matter. The interesssional Correspondence Group on Ship Recycling under the coordination of the USA was re-established to finalise the development of threshold values and exemptions reporting the outcome to MEPC 66, whilst the Secretariat will liaise with the International Atomic Energy Agency to seek guidance on the threshold value for radioactive substances.

• CONSIDERATION AND ADOPTION OF AMENDMENTS TO MANDATORY INSTRUMENTS. In considering the outcome of DG1’s work, the Committee adopted (by Resolutions), amendments to:

(1) MARPOL Annex 1 relating to Form A and Form B Supplements to the IOPP Certificate dealing with the removing of recording incinerator capacity.
(2) The Condition Assessment Scheme under MARPOL Annex 1 as a consequence of the adoption of the International Code on the Enhanced Programme of Inspections during Surveys of Bulk Carriers and Oil Tankers, 2011.
(3) The Code for Recognised Organisations (RO Code) inviting MSC 92 to ensure that the MEPC 65 text adopted remains identical, and
(4) Make the RO Code mandatory
• INTERPRETATIONS OF, AND AMENDMENTS TO, MARPOL AND RELATED INSTRUMENTS. The Committee approved DG2’s work in general and, in particular:
(1) Approved draft amendments to the form of the Garbage Record Book under MARPOL Annex V improving the format of the table layout.
(2) Adopted a draft MEPC resolution amending the 2012 Guidelines for the Implementation of MARPOL Annex V concerning management of boiler / economizer washdown water and disposal of E-waste generated on board (eg electronic cards, gadgets, computers, printer cartridges etc).
(3) Amended the date of application for cargoes declared as harmful to the marine environment under MARPOL Annex V to 31 December 2015 in the draft MEPC Circular on adequate port reception facilities. This will apply outside of special areas only.
(4) Approved draft terms of reference for a Correspondence Group on the use of electronic record books under MARPOL, and
(5) Approved a draft MEPC Circular outlining best practice for managing boiler / economizer washdown water.
• IMPLEMENTATION OF THE OPRC CONVENTION AND THE OPRC-HNS PROTOCOL AND RELEVANT CONFERENCE RESOLUTIONS. The fifteenth meeting of the OPRC-HNS Technical Group took place from 7 – 10 May 2013. It reported (most notably)
(1) Progress to the IMO Dispersant Guidelines
(2) Its advice that the Guide on oil spill response in ice and snow conditions should be referred to the Arctic Council’s Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR) Working Group for further development, and
(3) A revision of Section II of the Manual on Oil Pollution Contingency Planning to include new information related to contingency planning for offshore units, sea ports and oil handling facilities.
The Committee approved the finalised draft text of the Manual on Chemical Pollution to address legal and administrative aspects of HNS incidents, also that of Parts I and II of the IMO Dispersant Guidelines for publishing.
• INADEQUACY OF RECEPTION FACILITIES. The Committee recalled that the policy of “zero tolerance of illegal discharges from ships” can only be effectively enforced when there are adequate reception facilities in ports and urged all Parties to the MARPOL Convention, in particular port States, to fulfill their treaty obligations by providing adequate reception facilities for wastes generated during the normal operation of ships. Shipowners and operators pointed out the difficulties experienced in obtaining “harmful to the marine environment” (HME) declarations required by the revised MARPOL Annex V, and then when cargoes have been classified as HME, finding adequate reception facilities at receiving terminals. Following discussion, there was general support for a proposal that, in cases where no adequate port reception facilities exist at the discharge port, cargo hold washing water containing remnants of such residues may be discharged at a distance not less than 12 nautical miles from shore. The Committee stipulated however, that:
(1) A two-year time limit should be set up,
(2) The discharge should be made outside special areas, and
(3) Such discharge should be made in cases only where there are no reception facilities either at the receiving terminal or at the next port of call.
Accordingly, the drafting group prepared a relevant draft MEPC Circular as instructed by the Committee.

• MEPC CIRCULARS RELATED TO PORT RECEPTION FACILITIES. The Committee approved 5 draft Circulars prepared by FSI 21:
(1) Waste reception facility reporting requirements
(2) Revised consolidated format for reporting alleged inadequacies of port reception facilities
(3) Advance notification form for waste delivery to port reception facilities
(4) Standard format for waste delivery receipt, and
(5) Guide to good practice for port reception facility providers and users.
The Secretariat was instructed to consolidate all five of these Circulars relating to port reception facilities into one and submit it to MEPC 66 for approval.
• POLLUTION INCIDENTS IN THE ENGLISH CHANNEL. WWF referred to the recent serious pollution incident in the English Channel which caused the death of over 4,000 seabirds covered in the substance polyisobutylene, or PIB. IPTA and ICS expressed the view that any regulatory measure should only be considered after full investigations of the incident have been completed, reported and evaluated.

• CERTIFICATES AND DOCUMENT REQUIRED TO BE CARRIED ON BOARD SHIPS. Subject to a concurrent decision by MSC 92, the Committee endorsed the recommendation by FSI 21 that certificates carried on board have to be valid and drawn up in a form corresponding to the model required by the relevant international convention and that a certificate may also be considered as “original” or “authentic” while containing an “authorised” electronically applied signature or stamp.

• POLAR CODE. The Code will be structured according to general provisions and safety measures (containing mandatory and recommendatory provisions) in SOLAS, and pollution prevention measures to be included in each of the MARPOL annexes and other pollution-related instruments where applicable. The issue of Black Carbon emissions will be considered further following conclusion of the current BLG work. In respect of advice sought following DE57, the Committee opted to prohibit any discharge into the sea of oil or oily mixtures from any ships. This sparked INTERTANKO to propose that Mandatory requirements for reception facilities be developed to facilitate such a requirement, following which the Committee asked for relevant submissions to DE 58.

The Committee also opted to allow discharge of food waste into the sea under certain conditions but did not support a proposed provision in the draft Polar Code prohibiting shipboard incineration in Polar Regions. Finally, an intersessional meeting of the Polar Code Working Group was approved and will be held in the autumn of 2013 subject to concurrent approval by MSC 92. The correspondence group established by DE 57 will work in parallel and all the work on the Code will be considered at DE 58.

• A NEW SECTION IN THE IMSBC CODE RELATING TO THE REVISED MARPOL ANNEX V. The Committee agreed to instruct DSC to compile a list of solid bulk cargoes classified as harmful to the marine environment (HME), with a view to addressing the difficulties experienced by shipowners and operators in obtaining HME declarations. INTERCARGO expressed concern over the compilation of such a list, pointing out that varied concentrations of mining cargoes, due to different sources of origin, may lead to different results in terms of clarification of HME.

• FORMAL SAFETY ASSESSMENT. Having considered the outcome of MSC 92 concerning FSA, the Committee approved a draft MSC-MEPC circular on:

(1) Revised FSA Guidelines for use in the IMO rule-making process.
(2) Application of Human Element Analysing Process (HEAP) similarly.

Note was taken that the FSA study on crude oil tankers has been completed and relevant action taken by MSC 91.

• HARMFUL ANTI-FOULING SYSTEMS FOR SHIPS. The International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-Fouling Systems on Ships has been in force since 17 September 2008; to date, it has 65 Parties representing 82.25% of world gross tonnage. No documents on this item were submitted to this session.

• TECHNICAL COOPERATION ACTIVITIES FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT. At its 63rd Session in July 2013, the TCC is expected to announce the following thematic priorities for its Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP) as follows:

(1) Assisting countries in implementing the MARPOL Convention in general and more specifically in providing port reception facilities, establishing Special Areas or PSSAs, introducing waste management and in the uniform application of the revised Annex V, and of Annex VI on energy efficiency measures for ships (EEDI, SEEMP) and the uniform implementation of the AFS Convention.
(2) Assisting countries to implement the OPRC Convention and the OPRC-HNS Protocol, enhancing regional cooperation in marine pollution preparedness and response, also addressing relevant international regimes on liability and compensation for oil and HNS pollution damage.
(3) Strengthening national and regional capacity and fostering regional cooperation for the ratification and effective implementation of the Hong Kong Convention on ship recycling, of the BWM Convention and of the ships’ biofouling Guidelines, and
(4) Assisting the ratification and implementation of the London Protocol on prevention of pollution by dumping of waste and other matter.


PROMOTION OF TECHNICAL COOPERATION AND TRANSFER OF TECHNOGY RELATING TO THE IMPROVEMENT OF ENERGY EFFICIENCY OF SHIPS. Following exhaustive informal consultations by the Committee Chairman, the WG finally agreed on a draft MEPC resolution which bridges the gap between ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ countries. Key to the breakthrough was a suitably diplomatic amendment submitted by SOUTH AFRICA which takes cognisance of MARPOL’s principles of non-discrimination and no more favourable treatment and the principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol, including the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. A neatly squared circle.

AIR POLLUTION FROM SHIPS. The impact on the Arctic of emissions of black carbon will be considered at BLG 18, which outcome will then be taken at DE.

With regard to ‘Equivalents set forth in regulation 4 of MARPOL Annex VI’, the Committee agreed that sulphur emission-averaging schemes should not be accepted. BAHAMAS, LIBERIA, MALTA and the USA reserved their position on this issue. Following proposals by JAPAN and EUROMOT, draft amendments to the NOx Technical Code 2008 were approved in order to certify dual-fuel engines, with a view to adoption at MEPC 66.

In respect of non-identical replacement engines, guidelines will be developed by IMO to set forth the criteria of when it is not possible for a replacement engine to meet the Tier III standard. Meanwhile, IACS provided a unified interpretation (UI MPC 103) on ‘identical’ replacement engines.

Following a discussion on the revision of the Standard Specification for Shipboard incinerators, interested delegations were invited to forward relevant information to the Secretariat enabling preparation of a document for submission to MEPC 66.

The USA, Coordinator of the Correspondence Group (G) on Assessment of Technological Developments to implement the Tier III Nox Emission Standards under MARPOL Annex VI, submitted its final report. The CG identified that selective catalytic reduction (SCR), exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and dual-fuel LNG have the potential to achieve Tier III NOx limits, either alone or in some combination with each other. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION however, maintained that the effective date should be moved back at least 5 years to 1 January 2021 in order to enable a more extensive review of the technologies and this argument won the day. Member States reserving their position on this amendment comprised: CANADA, DENMARK, FINLAND, FRANCE, GERMANY, JAPAN, NORWAY, UK and the USA. Monitoring of the worldwide average sulphur content of marine oil fuel oils supplied for use on board ship through 2012 showed it to be 2.51% for residual fuel oil and 0.14% for distillate fuel oil.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY FOR SHIPS. The Committee noted that a new chapter 4 of MARPOL Annex VI entered into force on 1 January 2013 making the EEDI mandatory for new ships and the SEEMP for all (new and existing) ships. However, the Committee agreed to exempt cargo ships having ice-breaking capability from the EEDI requirements. The Committee noted the updated version of the draft IMO Model Course on Energy Efficient Operation of Ships which had been suitably scrutinised by a Validation Group for Model Courses under the STCW Convention, and requested the Secretariat to publish it as a final version.

• WORKING GROUP ON AIR POLLUTION AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY. In concluding its consideration of the report of WG3, the Committee approved it in general and, notably:

(1) Approved draft amendments to MARPOL Annex VI with a view to adoption at MEPC 66.
(2) Noted the finalised amendment to a resolution on the method of calculating EEDI for new ships for adoption at MEPC 66.
(3) Adopted ‘2013 Interim-Guidelines for determining minimum propulsion power to maintain manoeuvrability of ships in adverse conditions’.
(4) Approved ‘2013 Guidance on treatment of innovative energy efficiency technologies for calculation and verification of the attained EEDI’, also reference links for use of EEDI with cruise passenger ships having non-conventional propulsion, and
(5) Adopted amendment to the ‘2012 Guidelines on survey and certification of EEDI’.

• UPDATE OF THE GHG EMISSION ESTIMATE FOR INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING. It was recalled that MEPC 64 endorsed in principle, the outline for an update of the existing GHG emissions estimate and accordingly an Expert Workshop on the update was convened at the end of February 2013. In considering the report of the Expert Group, the Committee agreed that the primary focus of the Update Study should be CO2 emission estimates for international shipping and, subject to adequate resources, the additional substances estimated in the Second IMO GHG study of 2009. Further, following extensive debate (and somewhat fractious exchanges of views regarding oversight), it was agreed that a Steering Committee of 7 Member States should be established to oversee the Update Study, geographically balanced in its make-up and equitably comprising 3 members from developing and 3 members from developed, countries, with one further Member State as Chairman. It was considered that a target date of 31 July 2013 for the procurement process would enable a submission deadline of March 2014 (MEPC 66) for the final Update Study report. In concluding its consideration of the report of the Expert Workshop, it was agreed that the same top-down (fuel sales) and bottom-up (ship activity) approach adopted in the 2009 Study should again be used.

Captain Paddy McKnight

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