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The IMO Committee on Marine Environment Protection held its 66th Session (MEPC 66) from Monday 31 March to Friday 4 April under the Chairmanship of Mr Arsenio Dominguez (PANAMA) and his Vice-Chair, Dr Naomi Parker (NEW ZEALAND.  A review group (RG), three working groups (WG) and a drafting group (DG) were formed as follows:


RG                     Ballast Water Management, Mr C Wiley (CANADA)

WG1                 Air pollution and energy efficiency, Mr K Yoshida (JAPAN)

WG2                  Energy efficiency measures for ships, Mr A Chrysostomou   (CYPRUS)

Ad-hoc WG        Technology Transfer, Mr D Ntuli (SOUTH AFRICA)

DG                    Amendments, Mr H Steinbock (GERMANY)


Following is a selection of points emerging from the meeting of particular interest to InterManager Members:


  • HARMFUL AQUATIC ORGANISMS IN BALLAST WATER.    The number of Contracting Governments signed up to the BWM Convention is currently 38, representing 30.38% of the world’s merchant fleet tonnage thus ratification has yet to be attained;  unsurprisingly.  Formidably led by ICS, the Industry acknowledged that the resolution [A.1088(28)] adopted at Assembly 28 for a modified schedule has removed one major concern.  However, there remains a continuing lack of confidence in the type approval testing procedures which fail to provide treatment equipment ‘fit for purpose’ in real world operation.  Further, there is a need to address the long term acceptability of ‘first generation’ treatment equipment that has been fitted and operated in good faith in advance of BWM ratification.  A proposal to develop an MEPC resolution on the intent to address such concerns together with amendments to the G8 Guidelines was debated quite forcefully.  Eleven EU countries together with CANADA, KOREA and SINGAPORE were firmly opposed, slightly out-voting others in support.  However, a Norwegian proposal requesting the Secretariat to explore the possibility of conducting a study (which NORWAY offered to fund), on the implementation of the BW performance standard in Regulation D-2, found favour, as also did proposals to amend Guidelines (G8) set out in paragraph 11 of the document MEPC 66/2/11.  As recommended by the RG, the following additional items will also be addressed in the study for which a draft plan and terms of reference will be considered by MEPC 67:


  1. would the addition of required Guidelines (G8) test protocols as an annex to the BWM Convention provide additional consistency for testing and confidence in the testing;
  2. are type approved BWMS currently installed on ships consistently and reliably treating ballast water to meet the ballast water performance standard described in regulation D-2 (D-2 standard);
  3. to what extent have type approved BWMS been subsequently shown under land-based and ship board testing to be compliant or non-compliant with the D-2 standard;
  4. what is the proportion of ballast water discharges that are successful and unsuccessful in achieving the D-2 standard;
  5. do Administrations, including those conducting type approvals, have any comments on the current Guidelines (G8) or any suggestions as to how the Guidelines (G8) may be improved;  and
  6. are there any specific concerns relating to performance of BWMS in extreme



and any other aspects of implementing Guidelines (G8), as deemed appropriate.


In addition, the Review Group also agreed that the study should consider the following aspects:


  1. are type approved BWMS currently installed on ships operating as intended by the manufacturer;
  2. are ships operating BWMS according to the manufacturer’s instructions and according to limiting conditions on Type Approval Certificates;
  3. do the ships’ crew have the necessary training to appropriately operate BWMS;
  4. is the use of BWMS affecting ship operations and if so, how;
  5. are there indications that maintenance issues are affecting the ability of BWMS to meet the D-2 standard and if so, how;
  6. are self-monitoring systems on BWMS performing as intended;
  7. to what extent are installed BWMS in use?  Are there trends in the pattern of use, e.g. with regards to ship types, routes, etc.
  8. is there evidence that the use of type approved BWMS has had unintended adverse effects on ship’s crew, safety and / or routine operations;
  9. are type approved BWMS able to meet local or national water quality limits;
  10. are there any documented local adverse chemical effects from discharge of ballast water treated by type approved BWMS;  and
  11. is there evidence that ships are using alternative means of complying with the BWM Convention, other than installing BWMS.



Further, given the extensive workload under this agenda item, it was decided to defer consideration of a draft BWM circular offering guidance on stripping operations using eductors to MEPC 67.  The Industry contention is that when ballast water is managed by an approved system complying with the G2 Guidelines, then following discharge of the bulk of ballast water through the main system, the remainder of BW in the tanks will also be compliant and able to be discharged via an educator system using local water as driving water without additional management or monitoring.  Also of note, the Committee decided to split the Planned Output, duly shared between the PPR and III sub-committees.  The first part, Port State control Guidelines under the BWM Convention will be co-ordinated by III, with PPR in support whilst the latter will take the lead on the other part, Guidance on ballast water sampling and analysis.


A revised methodology for information gathering and conduct of work of the GESAMP-BWMG was endorsed and this will be applied to all submissions for Basic Approval to MEPC 69 and onwards, and subsequent submissions for Final Approval, the total number of which type approved BWMS is now 42.  A Circular giving Guidance on entry or re-entry of ships into exclusive operation within waters under the jurisdiction of a single Party was approved, whilst note was taken that the Ballast Water Transfer Boat (BWT Boat) concept proposed by INDIA does not need approval as an Other Method in accordance with regulation B-3.7 of the Convention.


  • RECYCLING OF SHIPS.   Only one State (NORWAY) has acceded to the Hong Kong Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009 (Hong Kong Convention) although FRANCE expects to ratify within the next two months.  All six sets of guidelines required have been finalised for voluntary implementation of technical standards in the period leading up to its entry into force.  The majority of threshold values have been determined although that for asbestos has not and it will be referred to the re-established correspondence group for further deliberation prior to MEPC 67.




(1)  2014 Standard Specification for shipboard incinerators.  This was adopted and will apply to passenger / cruise ships only for the time being.

(2)  Fuel Oil Availability.  Draft terms of reference for a correspondence group (co-ordinated by the USA) to review fuel availability were agreed.

(3)  Engines solely fuelled by gaseous fuels.  A draft amendment to MARPOL Annex VI was approved and interested delegations were invited to submit draft amendments to the NOx Technical Code.

(4)  2014 Guidelines on the method of calculation of the attained energy efficiency design index (EEDI) for new ships.  It is proposed to adopt the draft 2014 Guidelines at MEPC 67.

  • IMO MODEL COURSE ON ENERGY EFFICIENT OPERATION OF SHIPS.  The course, reference ET405E, has been published by IMO.
  • FACILITATION OF TRANSFER OF TECHNOLOGY FOR SHIPS.    The ad-hoc WG decided to divide its terms of reference into four main tasks:


  1. Assess the potential implications and impact of the implementation of the regulations in Chapter 4 of MARPOL Annex VI, in particular, on developing States, as a means to identify their technology transfer and financial needs, if any.
  2. Identify and create an inventory of energy efficiency technologies for ships.
  3. Identify barriers to transfer of technology, in particular to developing States, including associated costs, and possible sources of funding.
  4. Make recommendations including the development of a model agreement enabling the transfer of financial and technological resources and capacity-building between Parties.


A work plan submitted to the Committee was subsequently endorsed.


  • FURTHER TECHNICAL AND OPERATIONAL MEASURES FOR ENHANCING ENEERGY EFFICIENCY OF INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING.    WG2 was established to consider the development of a data collection system for fuel consumption of ships including identification of the core element of such a system.  Progress was made by WG2 on consideration of the development of a system, including identification of the core elements and this work will be further progressed by a Correspondence Group which will report to MEPC 67.


  • IMO UPDATE STUDY FOR THE GHG EMISSIONS ESTIMATE FOR INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING.  The study contract was awarded to UCL Consultants Ltd (UCLC).  The Steering Committee met on 6 March 2014; it affirmed that the work is on track to meet the completion date for the third IMO GHG Update Study 2014, also the terms of reference for the study are being met.  Members of the Steering Committee strongly refuted allegations that the tendering process for award of the contract had not been totally transparent or indeed fair to those who had not been chosen.


  • CONSIDERATION AND ADOPTION OF AMENDMENTS TO MANDATORY INSTRUMENTS.  Following deliberations by the DG, the Committee adopted draft amendments and associated MEPC resolutions to:


  1. MARPOL Annexes, I, II, III, IV, V and VI to make the use of the III Code mandatory;
  2. MARPOL Annex I (mandatory carriage requirements for a stability instrument);
  3. MARPOL Annex V (Record of Garbage Discharge);
  4. MARPOL Annex VI and the NOx Technical Code;
  5. The BCH Code (Cargo Containment); and
  6. The IBC Code (General).


  • DRAFT AMENDMENTS TO MARPOL ANNEX VI AND THE NOx TECHNICAL CODE 2008.   The DG prepared final text on paragraph 5 of regulation 13 of MARPOL Annex VI taking into account some frenzied exchanges in Plenary which sought to specify more clearly the conditions when operating in an emission control area designated for Tier III NOx control.  In order to negate retroactive compliance of NOx Tier III emission standards, CHINA proposed alternative wording to Regulation 13 paragraph 5.1.3 which reads, after “or when” in para 5.1.2 :


“ … that ship is operating in an emission control area designated for Tier III NOx control under para 6 of this regulation, other than an emission control area described in paragraph 5.1.2, and is constructed on or after the date of adoption of such an emission control area, or a later date as may be specified in the amendment designating the NOx Tier III emission control area, whichever is the later.”


As this paragraph is the key part of the compromise reached by interested delegations, it was accepted by the DG and subsequently Plenary thus avoiding the reopening of a somewhat polarised discussion.


Meanwhile, the effective date of 1 January 2016 for existing emission control areas for NOx will remain, and an exemption placed of a five-year delay for large yachts (greater than 24 metres in length and of less than 500 gross tonnage).


  • USE OF ELECTRONIC RECORD BOOKS UNDER MARPOL.    A CG established by MEPC 65 submitted draft guidance for the use of electronic record books under MARPOL, taking into account the ongoing work of the FAL Committee on electronic access to certificates and documents.  Some delegations felt that such use should be considered optional and expressed concern on certification and verification, stating the view that the electronic record book should achieve the same level of integrity as the hard copy required under MARPOL.  The requirement that each completed page of the record book shall be signed by the Master of the ship is a typical example.  The Committee then re-established the CG, instructing it to finalise draft guidance for the use of electronic records books under MARPOL and submit a written report to MEPC 68.


  • BOILER / ECONOMISER WASHDOWN WATER.   Despite convincing environmental test results for boiler / economiser washdown water, proposing that it should be regarded as “other similar discharges” essential to the operation of a ship, rather than “operational waste”, the Committee ruled that any Member Government wishing to pursue the matter further, should submit a proposal for a new output to be included in the biennial agenda of the PPR Sub-Committee to MEPC for its consideration.


  • MANUAL ON CHEMICAL POLLUTION.  The Committee approved finalised draft text for the Manual on Chemical Pollution to address legal and administrative aspects of HNS incidents and instructed the Secretariat to carry out final editing, preparing the Manual for publication through the IMO Publishing Service.


  • INADEQUACY OF RECEPTION FACILITIES.  Following an instruction by MEPC 65, the Secretariat consolidated five circulars relating to port reception facilities into one and this was subsequently approved by the Committee following agreement to a suggested addition by IHMA.  All Parties to the MARPOL Convention, in particular port States, were urged to fulfil their treaty obligations to provide reception facilities for wastes generated during the operation of ships, and for all Member Governments to keep their information in the port reception facility database on GISIS up to date.


  • POLAR CODEFollowing input from sub-committee meeting SDC1 and discussion in Plenary, the Committee agreed that the applicability of the relevant MARPOL Annexes should be extended to the corresponding chapters of part 11-A;  that operational requirements be applied to both new and existing ships, also exemptions considered for any additional structural requirement.  In recognition of a perceived ambiguity as to the legal obligations for Member Governments, the Committee agreed that goals and functional requirements be deleted from part 11-A of the Code in favour of prescriptive requirements only.  A proposal to allow ships operating in Arctic waters to discharge oily mixtures from machinery spaces under the conditions stipulated for special areas under MARPOL Annex 1 was not agreed.  However, the need for the provision of adequate reception facilities in Arctic Waters was recognised though a majority of Member States ruled that it should not constitute a condition for implementation of the Code.  In order to make the Polar Code mandatory it was decided to do so via a separate chapter in every relevant Annex to MARPOL using a similar structure as that for the proposed chapter XIV of SOLAS;  this task was then given to a duly formed correspondence group which will submit a written report to MEPC 67.


  • ROLE OF THE HUMAN ELEMENT.   For the second consecutive session, no submissions were received under this agenda item thus it will be deleted from the MEPC agenda.  However, the HTW sub-committee will report future matters related to the human element to MEPC under the agenda item on Reports of sub-committees.




  1. Polar Code
  2. Ship Recycling
  3. Use of Electronic Record Books under MARPOL
  4. Further Technical and Operational Measures for Enhancing the Energy Efficiency of International Shipping;  and
  5. The Review of Fuel Oil Availability as Required by Regulation 14.8 of MARPOL Annex VI.




MEPC 67 from 13 through 17 October 2014




Captain Paddy McKnight


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