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IMO SETS OUT STRATEGY FOR GHG REDUCTION AND SULPHUR CAP

Tuesday, May 21, 2019 

The recent meeting of IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC74) pushed forward with a number of measures aimed at supporting the achievement of the objectives set out in the initial IMO strategy on reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ships, in line with the Paris Agreement under UNFCCC and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

MEPC74 approved amendments to strengthen existing mandatory requirements for new ships to be more energy efficient; initiated the Fourth IMO GHG Study; adopted a resolution encouraging cooperation with ports to reduce emission from shipping; approved a procedure for the impact assessment of new measures proposed; agreed to establish a multi-donor trust fund for GHG; and agreed terms of reference for the sixth and seventh intersessional working groups to be held in November 2019 and in March 2020 respectively in order to expedite the work. 

Also discussed were possible candidate short-term, mid- and long-term measures aiming at reducing GHG emissions from ships, to be further considered at next sessions.

MEPC approved, for adoption at the next session in April 2020, amendments to MARPOL Annex VI to significantly strengthen the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) "phase 3" requirements. These draft amendments bring forward the entry into effect date of phase 3 to 2022, from 2025, for several ship types, including gas carriers, general cargo ships and LNG carriers. This means that new ships built from that date must be significantly more energy efficient than the baseline.

For container ships, the EEDI reduction rate is enhanced, significantly for larger ship sizes, as follows:

  • For a containership of 200,000 DWT and above, the EEDI reduction rate is set at 50% from 2022
  • For a containership of 120,000 DWT and above but less than 200,000 DWT, 45% from 2022
  • For a containership of 80,000 DWT and above but less than 120,000 DWT, 40% from 2022
  • For a containership of 40,000 DWT and above but less than 80,000 DWT, 35% from 2022
  • For a containership of 15,000 DWT and above but less than 40,000 DWT, 30% from 2022

Additionally, MEPC74 approved and adopted a comprehensive set of guidance and guidelines to support the consistent implementation of the lower 0.50% limit on sulphur in ships’ fuel oil. Related draft MARPOL amendments were also approved. These cover:

  • Draft amendments to Regulation 2 Definitions, to include new definitions for “Sulphur content of fuel oil” - meaning the concentration of sulphur in any fuel oil, measured in % m/m as tested in accordance with standard acceptable to the Organization; “Low-flashpoint fuel”, to mean gaseous or liquid fuel having a flashpoint lower than otherwise permitted under paragraph 2.1.1 of SOLAS regulation II-2/4; “MARPOL delivered sample”, to mean the sample of fuel oil delivered in accordance with regulation 18.8.1 of MARPOL Annex VI; “In-use sample”, to mean the sample of fuel oil in use on a ship; and “On board sample”, to mean the sample of fuel oil intended to be used or carried for use on board that ship.
  • Fuel oil sampling and testing - Draft amendments to Regulation 14 Sulphur oxides (SOX) and particulate matter, to add new paragraphs related to in-use and on board fuel oil sampling and testing, to add new paragraphs to require one or more sampling points to be fitted or designated for the purpose of taking representative samples of the fuel oil being used or carried for use on board the ship. The representative samples of the fuel oil being used on board are to be taken in order to verify the fuel oil complies with the regulation.
  • Appendix I amendments to the International Air Pollution Prevention (IAPP) certificate - Draft consequential amendments to update the IAPP certificate to add a reference to sampling points and also to note where there is an exemption to the provision for low-flashpoint fuel.
  • Appendix VI Fuel verification procedure for MARPOL Annex VI fuel oil sample Draft consequential amendments to verification procedures, to cover verification of the representative samples of in-use fuel oil and on board fuel oil. 

IMO stressed that enforcement, compliance with and monitoring of the 2020 sulphur limit is the remit and responsibility of States Party to MARPOL Annex VI. Most ships are expected to use new blends of fuel oil which will be produced to meet the 0.50% limit on sulphur in fuel oil or compliant marine gas/diesel oil. The MARPOL Annex VI amendment to prohibit the carriage of non-compliant fuel oil used by ships, which was adopted last year, is expected to enter into force on 1 March 2020.

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