The IMO Committee on Protection of the Marine Environment (MEPC) held its 67th Session from Monday 13 through Friday 17 October 2014.  93 full and 2 associate Member States attended in addition to representatives from 3 UN Agencies, also 7 observer groups from Intergovernmental, together with 49 Non-Governmental, Organisations.  The number of delegates who attended the meeting was in excess of 1,000.


The meeting was Chaired by Mr Arsenio Dominguez (PANAMA) and his Vice-Chair, Dr Naomi Parker (NEW ZEALAND);   both were re-elected for 2015 during the course of the meeting.  Three Working Groups (WG) one Drafting Group (DG) and one Review Group (RG) were formed and chaired as follows:


WG1 Polar Code, Ms L Weller (UK)
WG2 Air pollution and energy efficiency, Mr K. Yoshida (JAPAN)
WG3 Further technical and operational measures for enhancing energy efficiency of international shipping,

Mr A Chrysostomou (CYPRUS)

DG1 Amendments to mandatory instruments, Mr H Steinbock (GERMANY)
RG1 Ballast Water Management, Mr C Wiley (CANADA)



Following, are salient points of most interest to InterManager Members:


  • HARMFUL AQUATIC ORGANISMS IN BALLAST WATER.    Turkey presented their instrument of accession to the BWM Convention bringing the number of Contacting States to 43, though the total gross world tonnage is still 2.45% short of that necessary for ratification.  Basic approval of BWM systems making use of Active Substances was given to ElysisGuard and in addition, final approval was granted to MARIONMATE, BlueZone and KURITA.  Of interest, the total number of type approved BWMs is now 51.  Sampling performed during stripping operations was discussed thoroughly and deemed to be inadvisable hence it was agreed that there is no need to develop guidance on how to do so.


  • REPORT OF THE BALLAST WATER REVIEW GROUP (RG1).   In considering the report submitted by RG1, the Committee:


  1. adopted a draft MEPC resolution on Guidelines for port State control inspection for compliance with the BWM Convention.  Importantly, the thorny issue of SAMPLING when moving from ‘indicative’ to ‘detailed’ analysis is dealt with in para 2.4.1 of the Guidelines which states  that: “PSCO should carry out an indicative analysis first.  However, the time required to conduct the indicative analysis should not unduly delay the operations, movement or departure of the ship.  If the result of the indicative analysis for the D-2 standard exceeds the D-2 standard by a threshold specific to the validated indicative analysis method being used as set out in the ‘Guidance on ballast water sampling and analysis for trial use in accordance with the BWM Convention and Guidelines (G2) (BWM.2/Circ.42), a detailed analysis can be carried out.”
  2. agreed to keep the Guidelines for port State control under the BWM Convention under review following the prescribed trial period associated with the guidance in BWM.2/Circ.42;
  3. endorsed a plan of action for reviewing Guidelines (G8);
  4. established a correspondence group for the review of Guidelines (G8) that will report to MEPC 68;
  5. approved an official meeting of the correspondence group during PPR2 with appropriate technical experts in attendance;
  6. relaxed the correspondence group report deadline to 6 March 2015 (9 weeks before MEPC 68);
  7. adopted a draft MEPC resolution on Measures to be taken to facilitate entry into force of the BWM Convention.  Important provisions in the associated draft MEPC Resolution agrees that the existing Guidelines (G8) should continue to be applied until they are revised following the review, and that shipowners who have installed type-approved BWM systems prior to the application of the revised Guidelines (G8), should not be penalised. Port States also agree to refrain from applying criminal sanctions or detaining the ship, based on sampling during the trial period; and
  8. endorsed the plan (and Terms of Reference) for a study on the implementation of the ballast water performance standard described in regulation D-2 of the BWM Convention.  The Secretariat was invited to initiate the study  for which a draft report is to be submitted by 1 August 2015.


  • RECYCLING OF SHIPS.  Only 3 States have ratified or acceded to the Hong Kong Convention 2009 so far, namely NORWAY, the CONGO and FRANCE.  MEPC 66 established a CG, instructing it to finalise the development of threshold values, exemptions and bulk listings applicable to materials listed in the Inventories of Hazardous Materials (IHM) and to prepare relevant amendments to the 2011 IHM Guidelines.  In view of time constraints, the Committee decided to refer the CG report and associated documents to PPR2, instructing the Sub-Committee to establish a WG on Ship Recycling at that session.




Impact on the Arctic of emissions of Black Carbon from International shipping.  It was felt premature for the Committee to single out a particular contender for  an agreed definition of Black Carbon thus the matter will be sent back to PPR at its second (next) session with a view to them making a clear and definitive recommendation.


Fuel Oil Quality.  The Committee noted the outcome of MSC 93’s consideration of fuel oil quality and its possible impact on crew health, ship safety and environmental protection.  Proposals were invited to MSC94, for consideration in conjunction with the outcome of MEPC 67, urging Member Governments, in the meantime, to strengthen their oversight capacity of bunker fuel suppliers.   In the ensuing discussion, the majority of Member States expressed a view supporting the development of non-mandatory guidance whilst a significant minority of Member States supported mandatory measures.  (Of note, had the NGO vote been permitted to count, the latter minority would have been a clear majority.)  The Committee instructed WG2 to prepare draft TORs for a CG to develop draft guidance in assuring the quality of fuel oil supplied for use on board ships and to consider the adequacy of the current regulatory framework for fuel oil quality, taking into account MSC 94’s deliberations.  The lack of trust between the ship owner and fuel oil supplier was acknowledged as was also the fact that all liability rests with the ship owner i.e. the end user, which is certainly not the case with other fuel oil supply chains.


CG on EEDI review required under regulation 21.6 of MARPOL Annex VI.  A CG under the coordination of JAPAN was established to review the status of technological developments relevant to implementing phase 2 of EEDI regulation.  A progress report will be provided to MEPC 68 and an interim report to MEPC 69.


  • REPORT OF THE AIR POLLUTION AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY GROUP (WG2).    The Committee approved WG2’s report in general and, in particular:


  1. approved a draft MEPC circular on Guidance to the supplement to the IAPP Certificate;
  2. noted IACS Unified Interpretation (UI) on Application of surveys / inspections for marine diesel engines related to regulations 1 and 5.2 of MARPOL Annex VI;
  3. approved the draft new UIs of MARPOL Annex VI related to ‘application for bunker delivery note’;
  4. noted the groups discussion on the Guidelines for calculating EEDI for new ships related to those equipped with dual-fuel engines;
  5. adopted a draft MEPC resolution on the 2014 Guidelines on survey and certification of EEDI;
  6. noted the discussion on amendments to the 2013 Interim Guidelines for determining minimum propulsion power to maintain the manoeuvrability of ships in adverse conditions and in addition, adopted a draft MEPC resolution regarding same.


  • DEVELOPMENT OF A DATA COLLECTION SYSTEM FOR FUEL CONSUMPTION OF SHIPS.    It was recalled that MEPC 66 established a CG on ‘Further Technical and Operational Measures for Enhancing Energy Efficiency of International Shipping’ and had instructed it to consider the development of a data collection system for fuel consumption of ships, including identification of the core element of such a system.  There followed an extremely lengthy and somewhat heated discussion on issues such as :


(1)  what the data could be used for;

(2)  the purpose and use of the data to be collected;

(3)  voluntary or mandatory?;

(4)  whether a need exists for an operational energy efficiency standard;

(5)  would (4) limit speed or fuel consumption?;  and

(6)  the implementation issues for data collection such as data confidentiality, change of flag State and / or ship owner, also the reporting period.


From all this, a clear agreement emerged, in principle, to develop a data collection system focusing on fuel consumption only.  WG3’s recommendation to re-establish the inter-sessional CG coordinated by Mr Chrysostomou (CYPRUS) was endorsed and a written report will be submitted to MEPC 68.


  • REDUCTION OF GHG EMISSIONS FROM SHIPS.    The Committee approved the ‘Third IMO GHG Study 2014’.  The majority of delegations that spoke supported the report and its findings which provide a sound basis for the future work of the Committee to address GHG emissions from international shipping.  Reservations were, however, expressed by CHINA, INDIA and the Russian Federation regarding methods, calculations and data employed, also purporting that some of the comments made in the report were not supported by scientific evidence.  However, the IMO Secretary General emphasised that much had been achieved in the very short period of time since the Committee had requested the Study and that in the future, there may be a need to re-evaluate the status of GHG emissions, taking account of EEDI application and other industry measures.  .


  • AMENDMENTS TO MANDATORY INSTRUMENTS.  The Committee established DG1 on Amendments to Mandatory Instruments.  It approved DG1’s subsequent report in general, and, in particular adopted draft amendments together with associated MEPC resolutions, to:


  1. regulation 43 of MARPOL Annex I related to the special requirements for the use or carriage of oils in the Antarctic area;
  2. the appendix to MARPOL Annex III, Criteria for the identification of harmful substances in packaged form;  and
  3. MARPOL Annex VI, regulations 2 and 13 and the Supplement to the IAPP Certificate.


  • REVIEW OF NITROGEN AND PHOSPHORUS REMOVAL STANDARDS IN THE 2012 GUIDELINES ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF EFFLUENT STANDARDS AND PERFORMANCE TESTS FOR SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANTS.  Some delegations expressed support for the proposal by CLIA to amend the 2012 Guidelines by adopting less stringent standards, arguing that the available information on STPs type approved to the removal standards in resolution .227(64) is not sufficient to instil confidence within the industry.  However a majority of delegations spoke in favour of retaining the current standards on the premise that manufacturers will be able to develop a sufficient number of STPs, type approved to the current removal standard before the effective date of the Baltic Sea special area.  Following discussion, the Committee thus agreed not to change the removal standard.  Given the lack of available information on reception facilities, the earliest effective date for implementation in the Baltic Sea special area, i.e. 1 January 2016, will not be met, however the issue of implementation dates will be further discussed at MEPC 68.  .


  • MANDATORY CODE FOR SHIPS OPERATING IN POLAR WATERS.   The Committee considered the reports of the Correspondence Group (MEPC 67/9) and the Intersessional Working Group (MEPC 67/ WP8), noting the good progress made towards development of the draft Polar Code and the associated amendments to MARPOL.  A Polar Code Working Group (WG1) was duly formed and having considered their subsequent report at WP14, the Committee approved it and took action as follows:


  1. endorsed the group’s recommendations with regard to the text of the preamble and introduction of the draft Polar Code, inviting MSC 94 to consider the revised text;
  2. approved the preamble, introduction and part II of the draft Polar Code with a view to adoption at MEPC 68;  and
  3. approved draft amendments to MARPOL Annexes I, II, IV and V for circulation in accordance with Article 16 of MARPOL, with a view to adoption at MEPC 68


  • INADEQUACY OF RECEPTION FACILITIES.    Owing to time constraints, this item was deferred to MEPC 68.




  1. PPR1.  The Committee approved the final version of the draft ‘Guidance on the safe operation of oil pollution combating equipment’ prepared by PPR1.
  2. SSE1.  The Committee approved a draft amendment to regulation 12 of MARPOL Annex I and a draft UI of regulation 12.3.3 of MARPOL Annex I (held in abeyance for approval at MEPC 70, after the deemed acceptance date of the particular MARPOL amendment).
  3. III 1.   
    1.                                       i.        Interim guidelines on the use of printed versions of electronic certificatesPSC regimes will be encouraged to fully implement the Guidelines without applying additional conditions and for port States and PSC regimes to work towards acceptance of printed versions of electronic certificates as recommended in the Guidelines.  It was also noted that FAL 39 had approved ‘Guidelines for the use of electronic certificates’. 
    2.                                      ii.        Guidelines for port State control officers on the ISM Code.  The Committee agreed that prior to agreeing a draft MSC-MEPC.4 circular on this matter and subject to the concurrent decision of MSC 94, the draft Guidelines will be referred to the HTW Sub-committee for comment.
    3.                                     iii.        UI on keel laying date for fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP) craft.  The Committee approved, subject to the concurrence of MSC 94, a draft MSC-MEPC 5 circular on a UI relating to the keel laying date for FRP craft. 


  • CORRESPONDENCE GROUPS.  The Committee agreed to establish the following inter sessional correspondence groups, which will report to MEPC 68.

Further Technical and Operational Measures for Enhancing the Energy Efficiency of International Shipping;

  1. Review of Fuel Oil Availability;
  2. Fuel Oil Quality; and
  3. Review of the States of Technological Development for Implementation of the EEDI.

An inter-sessional meeting of the ESPH Working Group will also be held in September / October 2016 subject to Council endorsement.

Captain Paddy McKnight


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