The 74th session of the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 74) was held at the headquarters of the IMO in London from 13 to 17 May. A summary of the outcome is given hereunder for your information.
Please note that this summary has been made based on informal information obtained from participants from ClassNK and Working Papers distributed during MEPC 74 with priority given to disseminating the information as early as practicable.
- Greenhouse Gases (GHG) emission reduction measures
Measures to reduce GHG emissions from international shipping have been deliberated at IMO, and so far, the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI), the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) and the Data Collection System for fuel oil consumption of ships (DCS) were introduced. Further, at MEPC 72, Initial IMO Strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships, which includes emission reduction target and candidate measures to reduce GHG emissions, was adopted.
1.1 Review of technological developments for EEDI
Regulation 21.6 of MARPOL Annex VI sets out that a review of the status of technological developments which may contribute to the improvement of EEDI should be conducted. It also requires, if proved necessary, to amend the subsequent requirements, i.e. “when to start the each phase” and “the reduction rate”. At MEPC 71, it was agreed to establish a correspondence group (CG), coordinated by Japan, to consider an early implementation of phase 3 and possible introduction of phase 4.
At this session, consideration was made based on the report of the CG and agreements reached at MEPC 73.
1) EEDI Phase 3 requirements
Draft amendments to MARPOL Annex VI were approved based on followings consensus. The draft amendments will be adopted at MEPC 75, to be held in Spring 2020.
– For container ship, advance starting year from 2025 to 2022, and strengthen the reduction factors based on the ship sizes as follows:
Deadweight Reduction factors
10,000～14,999 15～30%(Linear interpolation)
External Affairs Department
Vol. 2019-02 (20 May 2019)
– For general cargo ship, LNG carrier and cruise passenger ship, advance starting year from 2025 to 2022 and retain 30 % reduction.
– For gas carrier (LPG carrier) more than 15,000DWT, advance starting year from 2025 to 2022 and retain 30 % reduction. For gas carrier (LPG carrier) below 15,000DWT, retain the current requirements of starting year in 2025 and 30% reduction.
– For ship types other than above, retain the current requirements of starting year in 2025 and 30% reduction.
2) Reference line for large bulk carrier
Recognizing that EEDI requirements for large bulk carriers become too stringent, draft amendments to MARPOL Annex VI to relax the reference lines for large bulk carriers more than 279,000DWT were approved. The draft amendments will be adopted at MEPC 75.
3) Requirements for ice class ships
To add a correction factor for ice class ships of IA Super and IA, amendments to 2018 Guidelines on the method of calculation of the attained Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) for new ships (MEPC.308(73)) were adopted.
4) EEDI phase 4 requirements
It was agreed to continue the CG to consider the possible introduction of EEDI phase 4. The interim report of the CG will be provided at MEPC 75, and final report will be submitted to MEPC 76.
1.2 Requirements of minimum propulsion power and EEDI
Guidelines for determining minimum propulsion power to maintain the maneuverability of ships in adverse conditions were developed in order to avoid construction of extremely under-powered ships. At MEPC 71, it was agreed to extend the application period of the guidelines towards phase 2 of EEDI regulation. Meanwhile, consideration on strengthen of the phase 3 requirements continued. Under these circumstances, concerns were raised that the requirements of minimum propulsion power in the guidelines might become a barrier for meeting the phase 3 requirements.
At MEPC 73, to address the conflict between EEDI and minimum propulsion power requirements, a proposal to allow limitations of a ship’s shaft power under normal ships’ operation was discussed. As a result of the discussion, to improve the idea of Shaft Power Limitation (SHaPoLi), it was agreed to keep consideration of the proposal.
At this session, a proposal to introduce the idea of Shaft Power Limitation as an option was considered, and generally accepted. To improve the idea and for further discussion, it was agreed to keep consideration at future session. It was also agreed to proceed the revision work for the requirements of minimum propulsion power in the guidelines.
1.3 IMO strategy on reduction of GHG
The Paris Agreement specifies the ambitious target to limit the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. To address this issue, MEPC 72 adopted Initial IMO Strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships.
At this session, following an intersessional meeting held from 7 to 10 May, candidate short-term measures to reduce GHG emissions from existing ships were considered. MEPC 74 agreed to continue consideration of the following measures at future sessions, with a view to agreement to be reached in 2023.
- Energy efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI)
- Annual Efficiency Ratio (AER)
- Maximum operational speed
- Strengthening of the SEEMP, and improvement of operational energy efficiency
MEPC 74 adopted MEPC resolution on invitation to Member States to encourage voluntary cooperation between the port and shipping sectors to contribute to reducing GHG emissions from ships. To stimulate the discussion on GHG reduction measures, MEPC 74 agreed to hold intersessional meeting in November 2019 and March 2020.
- Air pollution
2.1 Sampling of fuel oil used on board
Onboard sampling for the verification of the sulphur content of fuel oil used on board ships is undertaken occasionally at PSC inspection or flag states inspection. At MEPC 70, Guidelines for onboard sampling for the verification of the sulphur content of fuel oil used on board ships were adopted (MEPC.1/Circ.864).
At this session, draft amendments to MARPOL Annex VI to mandate the designated sampling points for the verification of the sulphur content of fuel oil used on board ships, and draft amendments to Appendix VI of MARPOL Annex VI to specify verification procedures for the sulphur content of the fuel oil sample were approved. The draft amendments will be adopted at MEPC 75.
2.2 2020 global cap of sulphur content in fuel oils
At MEPC 70, it was agreed to set a global sulphur limit in fuel oil of 0.5% from 1 January 2020.
At this session, 2019 Guidelines for Consistent Implementation of the 0.50% Sulphur Limit under MARPOL Annex VI were adopted. These Guidelines provide the following contents for the implementation of 2020 global sulphur cap.
- Properties of fuel oil to be considered
- Inspection items by flag States and PSC
- Notification of Fuel Oil Non-Availability Report (FONAR) to flag States and port States
2.3 Guidance on contingency measures for addressing non-compliant fuel oil
If a ship is unable to obtain compliant fuel oil despite its best efforts, the ship shall submit a Fuel Oil Non-Availability Report (FONAR) to flag States and port States, as stated in item 2.2. Under this circumstance, to address the case where the ship loads non-compliant fuel oil on board, it was agreed to publish a MEPC circular on guidance for port State control on contingency measures for addressing non-compliant fuel oil.
This guidance invites, at next port of call, port State to consider whether the non-compliant fuel oil may be discharged to the port or retained on board, taking into account of environmental, safety, operational and logical implications. The port State, the flag State and the ship are also invited to work together to agree on the most appropriate solution to address the non-compliant fuel oil on board.
2.4 Discharge of wash water from exhaust gas cleaning system (EGCS)
Regulation 4 of MARPOL Annex VI permits an installation of EGCS as an equivalent measure for use of compliant fuel oil. Open-loop EGCS uses seawater as wash water and discharges overboard. The wash water discharge criteria are specified in 2015 Guidelines for EGCS (MEPC. 259. (68)), and wash water can be discharged, subject to compliance with these criteria. On the other hand, the movement to prohibit the use of open-loop EGCS at some ports arises due to the concern on the impact to marine environment.
At this session, new work programme of MEPC was agreed to investigate the environmental impact by the wash water discharged from EGCS. The investigation will be started at PPR Sub-Committee to be held in February 2020.
2.5 Failure of exhaust gas cleaning system (EGCS)
It was recognized an urgent need to consider the situation where EGCS fails to meet the provision of 2015 Guidelines for EGCS.
At this session, Guidance on indication of ongoing compliance in the case of the failure of a single monitoring instrument, and recommended actions to take if the EGCS fails to meet the provisions of the guidelines was adopted. The Guidance specifies procedures against a short-term temporary emission exceedance, and actions to take if long-term exceedance occurs, -i.e. changeover to compliant fuel oil and notification to flag States and port States.
- BWM Convention
3.1 Commissioning of Ballast Water Management Systems (BWMS)
During the discussion until MEPC 73, it was agreed to conduct commissioning testing of BWMS at its installation to ships, and also conduct sampling and analysis of treated ballast water to confirm the performance of the BWMS. In light of the above, it was pointed out that the commissioning testing, the sampling and analysis are not required at initial survey of the BWM Convention by the Convention itself.
At this session, draft amendments to BWM Convention were approved to specify the requirements to conduct commissioning testing, sampling and analysis. The draft amendments will be adopted at MEPC 75.
4.1 Electronic record books under MARPOL
MARPOL Convention requires that ships are to be provided with several record books for the purpose of management of pollution prevention, such as oil record book specified in MARPOL Annex I. Today, electrification of record books spreads for ease of access, and it was proposed to develop standards for implementation and use of electronic record books.
At this session, Guidelines for the use of electronic record books under MARPOL, amendments to MARPOL and NOx Technical Code to make reference to the Guidelines were adopted. On or after 1 October 2020, approval for the use of electronic record books will be needed.
4.2 Marine plastic litter
With a view to tackling the problem of plastics in the oceans, MARPOL Annex V prohibits discharge of plastics from vessels. However, it was often pointed out that this prohibition regulation was not effective and that some additional actions were needed at IMO level to reduce plastic pollution in the marine environment. To solve this problem, it was agreed to conduct IMO study on marine plastic litter from ships to estimate the contribution to marine plastic litter by all ships.
At this session, terms of reference for the IMO Study was approved. Further, relevant Sub-Committees will consider the issues, such as reporting of accidental loss or discharge of fishing gear, making garbage record book mandatory for smaller vessels, and obligation to report the loss of containers.
4.3 Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships (AFS Convention)
AFS Convention entered into force in 2008 to prohibit the use of harmful organotin in anti-fouling paints used on ships, -i.e. TBT. European countries proposed to prohibit the use of anti-fouling paints that contains cybutryne under the AFS Convention,
At this session, draft amendments to AFS Convention were considered and it was recognized that further consideration is necessary on the controls of cybutryne which has already been used on board existing ships. PPR Sub-Committee, to be held in February 2020, will consider the matter further.
4.4 Guidelines for sewage treatment plant
MARPOL Annex IV stipulates requirements for the discharge of sewage from ships, and sewage treatment plant shall be approved in accordance with 2012 Guidelines on implementation of effluent standards and performance tests for sewage treatment plants (resolution MEPC.227(64)). However, it was reported the cases where ships discharge virtually untreated sewage from type approved sewage treatment plant, and a proposal was made to strengthen the requirements.
At this session, new output to investigate the requirements for sewage treatment plant was approved. The relevant discussion will be started at PPR Sub-Committee.
- Amendments to mandatory instruments
MEPC 74 adopted amendments to mandatory instruments as follows:
5.1 EEDI for ice class ships
Amendments to MARPOL Annex VI to exempt category A ships as defined in the Polar Code from EEDI requirements were adopted.
Entry into force: 1 October 2020
5.2 MARPOL Annex II and IBC Code
Amendments to MARPOL Annex II were adopted to specify requirements related to prewash and discharge of persistent floaters.
Further, amendments to IBC Code and BCH Code including provision of Hydrogen sulphide (H2S) detection equipment for bulk liquids and revision of minimum requirements were also adopted.
Entry into force: 1 January 2021
5.3 Electronic record books
Amendments to MARPOL and NOx Technical Code to make reference to the Guidelines for the use of electronic record books under MARPOL were adopted (refer to item 4.1).
Entry into force: 1 October 2020
5.4 SCR Guideline
Amendments to the NOx Technical Code 2008, to certify SCR systems by Scheme A and Scheme B equivalently were adopted. Amendments to 2017 Guidelines addressing additional aspects of the NOx Technical Code 2008 with regard to particular requirements related to marine diesel engines fitted with SCR systems, was also adopted to revise the relevant requirements.
Entry into force: 1 October 2020