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ClassNK: Preliminary report of IMO MEPC 77

30 Nov 2021

Classification society ClassNK on Monday (29 November) released a summary outcome of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) MEPC 77 remote session. The 77th session of the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 77) was held from 22 to 26 November 2021 by video conference, due to the pandemic of COVID-19.

Please note: The summary has been made based on informal information obtained from participants of ClassNK and Working Papers developed during MEPC 77.

1. 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 held in April 2018, the Initial IMO Strategy on the reduction of GHG emissions from ships, which includes the emission reduction target and the candidate measures to reduce GHG emissions, was adopted. 

1.1 Short-term measures for reduction of GHG

The initial IMO Strategy on the reduction of GHG emissions from ships specifies the short-term target by 2030 for improved transportation efficiency of at least 40% compared to 2008. To achieve the short-term target, at MEPC 76, the amendments to MARPOL Annex VI were adopted to implement Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI) and Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) as well as the related Guidelines were also adopted.

Further, a Correspondence Group (CG) was established for the implementation of CII framework to develop/update Guidelines on SEEMP and DCS, correction factors for certain ship types for the CII calculations.

An interim report of the CG was submitted at the session and followings were agreed. For finalisation of the above-mentioned Guidelines, CG will continue its work and final report of the CG will be submitted to MEPC 78.

  • in cases where a ship holds multiple load line certificates, deadweight and/or gross tonnage to be used for calculation of the CII should be specified in DCS verification guidelines 
  • the correction factors should be applied in the calculation of the attained CII, and the CII value after correction should be used for rating purposes 
  • the attained annual operational CIIs as well as the parameters to calculate the correction factors etc. should be reported to IMO

1.2 Mid/Long-term measures for reduction of GHG

The initial IMO Strategy on the reduction of GHG emissions from ships specifies the middle-term target by 2050 to pursue the efforts towards the CO2 reduction of 70% per transport work and to reduce the total annual GHG emissions by at least 50% as well as the long-term target within this century to aims to phase out GHG emissions as soon as possible.

At the session, proposals for mid/long-term measures to achieve the above target were submitted, such as cap-and-trade system, carbon levy etc. The proposals will be further considered at future session.

1.3 IMRF and IMRB

At MEPC 75 held in November 2020, it was proposed to establish the International Maritime Research Fund (IMRF). As a result of the discussion, MEPC 77 agreed to continuously consider this proposal at the future sessions.

1.4 Review of Initial IMO Strategy on the reduction of GHG emissions from ships

In order to keep the Paris Agreement temperature goals which would limit temperature rise in 2100 to 1.5ºC, the recent reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) emphasize the urgency of tackling the climate crisis and reinforce that all emissions must peak now and a zero GHG emissions level must be achieved for all sectors by at least 2050.

At the session, recognising the need to strengthen the ambition of Initial IMO Strategy, MEPC 77 agreed to conduct a revision of the Initial IMO Strategy, with a view to finalization at MEPC 80 to be held in Spring 2023.

1.5 Wind Assisted Propulsion Systems on EEDI

At MEPC 65 held in May 2013, Guidance on treatment of innovative energy efficiency technologies for calculation and verification of the attained EEDI (MEPC.1/Circ.815) was approved to incorporate the effect of innovative technologies into the calculation of EEDI values.

At the session, the amendments to MEPC.1/Circ.815 were approved to reflect the effect of the Wind Assisted Propulsion Systems (WAPS) to EEDI/EEXI calculation.

2 BWM Convention

2.1 Commissioning of Ballast Water Management Systems

At MEPC 75 held in November 2020, the amendments to the BWM Convention were adopted to specify the requirements to conduct a commissioning test of Ballast Water Management System (BWMS) including sampling and analysis. The amendment will enter into force on 1 June 2022. At this session, a Unified Interpretation was approved to interpret that the commissioning testing of individual BWMS should be conducted if the initial or additional survey is completed on or after 1 June 2022.

2.2 Ships operating at ports with challenging water quality

Proposals on application of the BWM Convention to ships operating at ports with challenging water quality was made due to concerns on operation of BWMS at port area where certain water qualities, such as high level of turbidity, high level of total suspended solids or low salinity, are identified to exceed the operational limitation.

At the session, it was agreed to treat the cases where ships operate at ports with challenging water quality as contingency measures specified in BWM.2/Circ.62. MEPC 77 also agreed to further consider the matter at next session to develop the guidance for ships operating at ports with challenging water quality.

2.3 Experience-building phase

At MEPC 71 held in October 2017, MEPC resolution was adopted, which stipulates a work plan during the experience-building phase (EBP) to gather data and analyze the concerns for implementation of the BWM Convention and to facilitate the implementation of the Convention by classifying EBP into three stages as follows:

Stage 1: data gathering to collect the concerns over the implementation of the Convention

Stage 2: data analysis

Stage 3: review of the requirements of the Convention

At the session, the extension of EBP was proposed due to the delay in the data gathering caused by the pandemic of COVID-19. As a result of the discussion, MEPC 77 agreed to consider a possibility of the extension at next session, in which the result of data analysis based on the gathered data will be reported.

3. Air pollution

3.1 Guidelines for Exhaust Gas Cleaning System (EGCS)

Regulation 14 of MARPOL Annex VI prescribes requirements of sulphur content of any fuel oil used on board ships, for reduction of SOx emission from international shipping, and alternative compliance method can be applied with acceptance of the Administration in accordance with regulation 4 of ANNEX VI.

Under the circumstances that the Exhaust Gas Cleaning System (EGCS) is used as alternative compliance methods, EGCS should be in line with EGCS Guidelines MEPC.289(68) which stipulate the technical standards and verification procedures.

At the session, based on the reports from PPR Sub-Committee, amendments to the EGCS Guidelines, which include new definitions for technical terms and revision of technical standards, etc., were adopted.

3.2 Failure of EGCS

At MEPC 74, the Guidance on recommended actions to take in the case of the failure of a single monitoring instrument and the EGCS fails etc. was adopted.

The Guidance specifies the procedures that a short-term temporary emission exceedance due to the system response should not be considered as a breach, and the system malfunction that cannot be rectified within one hour is regarded as a breakdown.

Also, any EGCS malfunction that lasts more than one hour or repetitive malfunctions is required to be reported to flag States and port State’s Administration to determine the appropriate action.

At the session, amendments to the Guidance were adopted to require the additional notification to likely affected coastal State(s) to continue on its intended voyage in a non-compliant condition.

4. Others

4.1 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 the 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 the session, MEPC resolution on Strategy to Address Marine Plastic Litter from Ships was adopted, which includes vision of aims to strengthen the international framework and compliance with the relevant IMO instruments, endeavouring to achieve zero plastic waste discharges to sea from ships by 2025.

Related: ‘Missed opportunity’ to decarbonise shipping at MEPC 77, says ICS
Related: Clean Shipping Coalition: UN shipping agency climate talks again held back by handful of blockers
Related: MEPC 77: For climate progress, shipping needs action from IMO member states on concrete initiatives
Related: INTERCARGO supports IMO’s MEPC 77 shipping decarbonisation goals by 2050
Related: INTERCARGO: Global challenges require global solutions to achieve zero-emission shipping by 2050
Related: Royal Belgian Shipowners’ Association: MEPC 77 needs to deliver concrete actions
Related: IBIA: ECGS guidelines and discharge policy on MEPC 77 agenda
Related: IBIA: MEPC 77 to discuss mandatory flashpoint on the BDN
Related: MEPC 77: Governments to decide on ICS USD 5 billion R&D fund to accelerate decarbonisation goals
Related: MEPC 77: IMO must rapidly cut emissions of black carbon from shipping, says Clean Arctic Alliance
Related: IMO schedules remote session of Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 77)


Photo credit: ClassNK
Published: 30 November, 2021

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