Marine Environment Protection Committee 72

By Lars Lange, IUMI Secretary General

The IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) met for its 72nd session from 9 to 13 April 2018 in London. The following topics raised are of particular interest for marine insurers:


Greenhouse gas emissions initial strategy adopted

The MEPC adopted an initial strategy on the reduction of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions from ships, setting out a vision to reduce GHG emissions from international shipping. This vision confirms IMO’s commitment to reducing GHG emissions and, as a matter of urgency, aims to phase them out as soon as possible in this century.


More specifically, under the identified “levels of ambition”, the initial strategy envisages for the first time a reduction in total GHG emissions from international shipping which, it says, should peak as soon as possible and to reduce the total annual GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008, while, at the same time, pursuing efforts towards phasing them out entirely. The strategy includes a specific reference to “a pathway of CO2 emissions reduction consistent with the Paris Agreement temperature goals”.


Further work on energy efficiency requirements

The MEPC adopted amendments to regulation 21 of MARPOL Annex VI regarding Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) requirements for roro cargo and roro passenger ships. Draft amendments to regulation VI/19.3 proposed in relation to exemptions on EEDI for ice class ships were referred to the correspondence group.


Mandatory data collection system for fuel oil consumption of ships

MARPOL amendments to make mandatory the data collection system for fuel oil consumption of ships entered into force on 1 March 2018. They require data collection to start from 1 January 2019. MEPC 72 was updated on the status of the development of the IMO Ship Fuel Oil Consumption Database which was launched in March 2018.


Implementation of sulphur 2020 limit - non-compliant fuel oil ban approved

The 0.50% limit on sulphur in fuel oil on board ships (outside designated emission control areas or ECAs, where the limit is 0.10%) will come into effect on 1 January 2020. The MEPC approved, with a view to adopt at MEPC 73 (22-26 October 2018), draft amendments to MARPOL Annex VI to prohibit the carriage of non-compliant fuel oil for combustion purposes for propulsion or operation on board a ship.


IMO’s Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR) is currently developing guidelines to support the implementation of the 2020 sulphur limit.


Heavy fuel oil in the Arctic

The MEPC considered the development of measures to reduce risks of use and carriage of heavy fuel oil as fuel by ships in Arctic waters and agreed the scope of work for the Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR), which meets for 6th session PPR 6 in February 2019.


PPR 6 should develop a definition of heavy fuel oil (HFO); prepare a set of guidelines on mitigation measures to reduce risks of use and carriage of heavy fuel oil as fuel by ships in Arctic waters.


Marine litter

The MEPC agreed to include a new output on its agenda, to address the issue of marine plastic litter from shipping. Member Governments and international organisations were invited to submit concrete proposals to MEPC 73 on the development of an action plan.