Greenhouse Gases on Agenda As IMO Marine Environmental Protection Committee Meets
Market-based measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping will be among the key items on the agenda of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), when it meets for its 63rd session from February 27th to March 2nd 2012, at IMO Headquarters in London.
The MEPC will also discuss issues relating to the implementation of the ship recycling and ballast water management conventions and consider the adoption of amendments to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) relating to reception facilities in Small Island Developing States.
Market-based measures to address the reduction of GHGs
The MEPC will continue to consider a number of proposals for market-based measures (MBMs), to assist the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping.
This follows the adoption, in July 2011, of amendments to MARPOL Annex VI Regulations for the prevention of air pollution from ships, to add a new chapter 4 to Annex VI on Regulations on energy efficiency for ships to make mandatory the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI), for new ships, and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) for all ships.
The Committee will have, for its consideration, the report of an intersessional meeting of the Working Group on GHG Emissions from Ships, which met in March 2011 to consider suitable MBMs to reduce GHG emissions from international shipping. This follows the submission to the MEPC of a comprehensive report by an Expert Group, which had carried out a feasibility study and impact assessment of several possible MBMs submitted by Governments and observer organizations.
The intersessional group held an extensive exchange of views on issues related to, among other things, the desirability of MBMs providing: certainty in emission reductions or carbon price; revenues for mitigation, adaptation and capacity-building activities in developing countries; incentives for technical and operational improvements in shipping; and offsetting opportunities.
The MEPC is expected to outline future work by the Organization on this matter, including, as identified by the Working Group, further in-depth examination of the impact of MBMs on world trade and sustainable development and, in particular, the possible impacts on developing countries as well as their consumers and industries.
The MBM proposals under review range from a contribution or levy on all CO2 emissions from international shipping or only from those ships not meeting the EEDI requirement, via emission trading systems, to schemes based on a ship’s actual efficiency, both by design (EEDI) and operation (SEEMP).
Guidelines for the implementation of the mandatory energy efficiency measures
The MEPC will consider three sets of draft guidelines intended to assist in the implementation of the Regulations on Energy Efficiency for Ships in MARPOL Annex VI. The draft guidelines were developed by the intersessional meeting of the Working Group on Energy Efficiency Measures for Ships, which met in January 2012. Work on developing EEDI frameworks for those ships that are not covered by the current EEDI formula will also be progressed.
The MEPC will also consider, with a view to adoption, an MEPC resolution on technology transfer and the development of alternative technologies to enable all Member States to meet the challenge of implementing the new Chapter 4 of MARPOL Annex VI.
Air pollution from ships
The report of the Correspondence Group on the Review of the Status of the Technological Developments to Implement the Tier III NOx Emissions Standard will be brought to the attention of MEPC 63.
The MEPC will also continue its consideration of matters relating to the availability of fuel oil to meet the requirements set out in MARPOL Annex VI.
NOx technical code amendments
The MEPC will be invited to adopt draft amendments to the NOx Technical Code 2008, relating to certification of marine diesel engines fitted with selective catalytic reduction systems.
Amendments to MARPOL relating to regional arrangements for port reception facilities
The MEPC will be invited to adopt draft amendments to MARPOL Annexes I, II, IV, V and VI, aimed at enabling Small Island Developing States to comply with requirements for port States to provide reception facilities for ship waste through regional arrangements. Parties participating in a regional arrangement must develop a Regional Reception Facilities Plan and provide particulars of the identified Regional Ships Waste Reception Centres; and particulars of those ports with only limited facilities.
MARPOL Annex V (Garbage) guidelines set for adoption
The MEPC will consider, with a view to adoption, the draft 2012 Guidelines for the Implementation of MARPOL Annex V and draft 2012 Guidelines for the Development of Garbage Management Plans, developed by an intersessional correspondence group. The guidelines are intended to assist in the implementation of the revised MARPOL Annex V Regulations for the prevention of pollution by garbage from ships, which was adopted at
MEPC 62 in July 2011 and is expected to enter into force on 1 January 2013.
Ballast water management systems up for approval
The MEPC will consider the reports of the 18th, 19th and 20th meetings of the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environment Protection (GESAMP) Ballast Water Working Group, which met in late 2011, with a view to granting basic approval to four, and final approval to five, ballast water management systems that make use of active substances.
The MEPC is expected to reiterate the need for those countries that have not yet done so to ratify the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004, to achieve its entry into force at the earliest opportunity. To date, 33 States, with an aggregate merchant shipping tonnage of 26.46 per cent of the world total, have ratified the Convention. The Convention will enter into force twelve months after the date on which not fewer than 30 States, the combined merchant fleets of which constitute not less than 35 percent of the gross tonnage of the world’s merchant shipping, have become Parties to it.
Recycling of ships
The MEPC is expected to consider, for adoption, draft Guidelines for safe and environmentally sound ship recycling, and Guidelines for the authorization of ship-recycling facilities, which have been further developed by the intersessional Correspondence Group on Ship Recycling Guidelines.
These guidelines, along with the 2011 Guidelines for the development of the Inventory of Hazardous Materials and the 2011 Guidelines for the development of the Ship Recycling Plan that were adopted by MEPC 62, are intended to assist ship-recycling facilities and shipping companies to commence introducing voluntary improvements to meet the requirements of the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, which was adopted in May 2009.
The MEPC will also consider the further development of draft guidelines for survey and certification and draft guidelines for the inspection of ships under the Hong Kong Convention.
Oil pollution response manuals to be considered for approval
The MEPC will consider, for approval, four manuals aimed at supporting decision-making for tactical response to oil pollution incidents. The manuals have been developed by the OPRC HNS  Technical Group.
IMO – the International Maritime Organization – is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.