PPR4 Report

By Nick Gooding FCII, IUMI Alternate Officer at IMO

The Pollution Prevention and Response Sub-Committee met at IMO Headquarters between the 16 and 20 January 2017 under the Chairmanship of Mr Sveinung Oftedal of Norway. The main issues arising are summarised below.

Implementation of the 0.50% sulphur limit

The Sub-Committee has commenced work to ensure the consistent and effective implementation of the 0.50% m/m sulphur limit, which comes into effect in 2020.

The proposed work is aimed at exploring what actions may be taken to ensure consistent and effective implementation of the 0.50% sulphur limit for fuel oil used by ships operating outside designated SOx Emission Control Areas or not making use of an equivalent such as an Exhaust Gas Cleaning System.

The Sub-Committee agreed that consistent and effective implementation of the 0.50% sulphur limit is critical for commercial considerations and to achieve the environmental benefits sought through regulation 14, which regulates emissions of sulphur oxides (SOx) in MARPOL Annex VI.

Inconsistent and ineffective implementation would increase the uncertainty concerning actual market demand for 0.50% sulphur marine fuel oil. This in turn would increase the difficulty for the marine fuel oil supply chain to plan effectively to meet global demand and for ship operators to assess the viability of investing in exhaust gas cleaning systems. Importantly, ineffective implementation is likely to lead to more ships using non-compliant fuel oil and having a significant commercial advantage over ships complying, leading to a distortion in the market.

Ballast Water Management

The Drafting Group on ballast water management submitted a draft publication entitled “Ballast Water Management – How to do it.”

This guide will be published by the International Maritime Organization to provide advice on the process of ratification, implementation and enforcement of the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004.

The guide will provide practical information to governments, administrations, shipowners, Port State Control authorities, environmental agencies and other stakeholders on the implications of ratifying, implementing and enforcing the BWM Convention. The aim is to encourage the further ratification and proper implementation and enforcement of the Convention.

Use of Electronic Record Books

The Sub-Committee had been asked to consider whether or not the forms of record books in MARPOL can be accommodated in electronic formats and to consider the feasibility of using electronic documentation.

There was general support for the use of electronic record books and the need to finalise the draft guidance and associated MARPOL amendments to ensure uniform implementation. It was felt however, that further work is needed to address any potential technical, legal and procedural issues in order to ensure that the level of safety, security, protection and availability is the same as those of the written records.

It was agreed that electronic record books should be presented in the format as specified in relevant MARPOL Annexes in order to assist the smooth transition from hard copy record books to electronic ones while not ruling out the need to further explore the extent of flexibility of the forms in the future.

With regard to using other electronic documentation, it was agreed that in order not to further delay the finalisation of the draft guidance, it should not cover electronic documentation which requires different verification processes. This matter may be revisited in the future, based on the experience gained with the use of electronic record books. The Secretariat were asked to prepare draft amendments to MARPOL together with draft guidance for the use of electronic record books.