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ABS publishes MEPC 75 brief to provide overview on issues discussed upon at the session

25 Nov 2020

Classification society American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) on Tuesday (24 November) published a brief on the issues agreed upon at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee’s (MEPC75) session held on Monday (16 November). 

The ABS MEPC75 brief provides an overview of the more significant issues agreed at this session, including matters pertaining to GHG reduction efforts, air pollution, energy efficiency and ballast water management.

Selected excerpts from the ABS MEPC75 brief relevant to the bunkering industry includes:

2020 Guidelines for On Board Sampling of Fuel Oil Intended to be Use or Carried for Use On Board a Ship

Taking into account the 1 January 2020 global implementation of 0.50% sulphur limit for the fuel oil used on board and the 1 March 2020 carriage ban of non-compliant fuel, the Committee approved Circular MEPC.1/Circ.889, 2020 Guidelines for On Board Sampling of Fuel Oil Intended to be Use or Carried for Use On Board a Ship, which was created in order to provide guidance on the unique aspects of sampling fuel oil which may not be currently in use but is intended to be used.

Such sampling may be done via the fuel oil transfer system or, in some instances, directly from the tank using specialized equipment. Some challenges of carrying out such sampling are discussed in this guidance. It is also noted in this circular that system tanks, such as settling or service tanks (i.e. in-use fuel oil) may be sampled using other guidance contained in the previously approved 2019 Guidelines for On Board Sampling for the Verification of the Sulphur Content of the Fuel Oil Used On Board Ships (MEPC.1/Circ.864/Rev.1).

2020 Guidelines for Monitoring the Worldwide Average Sulphur Content of Fuel Oils Supplied for Use On Board Ships

In support of the IMO’s ongoing monitoring program of the worldwide average sulphur content of fuel oils supplied to ships (as required by Regulation 14.2 of MARPOL Annex VI), the Committee adopted Resolution MEPC.326(75) providing updates to the guidelines for this monitoring.

These updates are intended to align with the recent entry into force of the 0.50% global sulphur limit for fuel oils, and they clarify that three categories should be used for monitoring the worldwide average sulphur content of fuel oil – fuel oil not exceeding 0.10%, fuel oil not exceeding 0.50% but above 0.10% and fuel oil exceeding 0.50%. The basis of monitoring is the calculation, on an annual basis, of the average sulphur content of residual fuel and distillate fuel in each of these three categories

Ban on HFO in Arctic Waters

The Committee approved draft amendments to MARPOL Annex I to incorporate a prohibition on the use and carriage for use as fuel of heavy fuel oil by ships in Arctic waters. Under the provisions of the draft amendments (to be given in a new Regulation 43A in MARPOL Annex I), the prohibited fuel oils are described as “oils, other than crude oils, having a density at 15oC higher than 900 kg/m3 or a kinematic viscosity at 50oC higher than 180 mm2/s”. The use and carriage for use as fuel of these heavy fuel oils would be prohibited in Arctic waters on and after 1 July 2024. For ships to which Regulation 12A of MARPOL Annex I (Oil fuel tank protection) is applicable, this prohibition would be effective on and after 1 July 2029.

Notwithstanding the above, Administrations with coastlines that border on Arctic waters would have leeway to temporarily waive the requirements of this prohibition for vessels under their registry while operating in waters under the jurisdiction of that Administration, up until 1 July 2029, after which no such waivers may be issued. These approved amendments to MARPOL Annex I are to be formally adopted at MEPC 76.

A full copy of the MEPC 75 Brief by ABS is available for download here.

Photo credit: ABS

Published: 25 November, 2020

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