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IMO schedules remote session of Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 77)

18 Nov 2021

The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) on Wednesday (17 November) said it will hold a remote session on 22-26 November at 11:00 to 14:00 GMT daily.

The meeting will be opened by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim and will be chaired by Hideaki Saito (Japan). The Vice-Chair is Harry Conway (Liberia). 

Highlights of the agenda are as follows:

  • Tackling climate change – cutting GHG emissions from ships
  • Air pollution and energy efficiency, including exhaust gas cleaning systems and Black Carbon 
  • Harmful aquatic organisms in ballast water   
  • Marine plastic litter

Tackling climate change – cutting GHG emissions from ships  

Background:

IMO is committed to cutting Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ships. Mandatory energy efficiency measures were first adopted in 2011.

The Initial IMO Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Shipping was adopted in 2018.  Member States have committed to adopting a revised Strategy by 2023.  

MEPC 74 agreed to establish the voluntary multi-donor IMO GHG TC trust fund  to provide a dedicated source of financial support for technical cooperation, technology demonstration and deployment and capacity-building activities to support the implementation of the Initial IMO GHG Strategy.  

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the MEPC has made good progress in developing and adopting further GHG measures, by working remotely. MEPC 76 in June this year adopted amendments to MARPOL Annex VI, based on draft text approved by MEPC 75, related to short-term measures consisting of technical (EEXI) and operational (CII and its rating) measures, which are expected to enter into force in November 2022, aiming at 40% reduction of carbon intensity by 2030. (Read more here.

MEPC 76 also adopted a work plan on the concrete way forward to make progress with candidate mid- and long-term measures, including measures to incentivize the move away from fossil fuels to low- and zero-carbon fuels to achieve decarbonization of international shipping. Read more here.  

MEPC 77: 

The MEPC will consider the outcomes of the two sessions of the Intersessional Working Group on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships (ISWG-GHG 9 and 10).  

ISWG GHG 9 made concrete progress in developing standalone lifecycle GHG/carbon intensity guidelines (LCA guidelines), to be utilized when assessing the overall climate impact of new marine fuels, which shipping needs to transition to in order to meet the GHG reduction ambitions. 

ISWG GHG 10 considered the lessons-learned exercise of the comprehensive impact assessment of the short-term GHG reduction measure that was adopted in June 2021. ISWG-GHG 10 also considered various proposals for mid-term measures to reduce GHG emissions, including a number of submissions related to potential market-based measures.

 The MEPC will have for consideration a number of proposals from Member States and industry for candidate mid- and long-term measures to incentivize the move away from fossil fuels to low- and zero-carbon fuels to achieve decarbonization of international shipping. 

In addition to the above-mentioned proposals, the MEPC is expected to consider:  

  • Proposals related to the 2050 level of ambition, including a proposed MEPC resolution, and the revision of the Initial IMO GHG Strategy
  • A revised proposal for an International Maritime Research and Development Board
  • A proposal for the revision of Data Collection System, to include information on the shipʹs required and attained EEXI, CII values and rating in the IMO fuel consumption Data Collection System. This would involve developing associated amendments to appendix IX to MARPOL Annex VI. 

Air pollution and energy efficiency 

Exhaust gas cleaning systems  

The MEPC is expected to consider matters relating to exhaust gas cleaning systems, including the proposed revised EGCS guidelines, as agreed by the Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR 7). Consideration of this matter had been deferred to this session due to lack of time.  

The MEPC will review the proposed scope of work for PPR relating to evaluation and harmonization of rules and guidance on the discharge of discharge water from EGCS into the aquatic environment, including conditions and areas (as discussed at PPR 7).  

Black carbon in the Arctic  

The MEPC will consider the deliberations of the PPR Sub-Committee in respect of reducing the impact on the Arctic of Black Carbon emissions from international shipping and the terms of reference for the PPR’s future work on reduction of the impact on the Arctic of Black Carbon emissions from international shipping.  

Calculation of the EEDI  

The MEPC is expected to consider updating the 2013 Guidance on treatment of innovative energy efficiency technologies for calculation and verification of the attained EEDI (MEPC.1/Circ.815), to reflect updated technical guidance.  

Bunker delivery note  

The MEPC is expected to consider draft amendments to MARPOL Annex VI on the inclusion of flashpoint as mandatory information in the bunker delivery note.  

Harmful aquatic organisms in ballast water 

The Committee is expected to consider guidance, unified interpretations and procedures relating to the implementation of the Ballast Water Management Convention (BWM), which has been in force since 2017 and aims to prevent the spread of invasive aquatic species in ballast water.  

The MEPC is expected to consider for approval a BWM.2 circular on guidance for the application of the BWM Convention to ships operating at ports with challenging water quality; and a unified interpretation of regulations E-1.1.1 and E-1.1.5 of the BWM Convention, which relate to the commissioning testing of ballast water management systems.  

The MEPC is also expected to consider the application of the BWM Convention to specific ship types; take stock of the experience-building phase associated with the BWM Convention; and consider the development of procedures for conducting re-evaluations of ballast water management systems which make use of Active Substances.  

Marine plastic litter  

The MEPC in 2018 adopted the IMO Action Plan to address marine plastic litter from ships, which aims to enhance existing regulations and introduce new supporting measures to reduce marine plastic litter from ships. 

The MEPC agreed actions to be completed by 2025, which relate to all ships, including fishing vessels. The action plan supports IMO’s commitment to meeting the targets set in the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG 14 ) on the oceans. 

The MEPC 77 session is expected to finalise a strategy to address marine plastic litter from ships, whose aim will be to guide the implementation of the Action Plan. 

The Committee will also consider: the marking of fishing gear; extending the requirement for a Garbage Record Book to ships less than 400 GT and equal to or greater than 100 GT; and documents providing information and comments on sea-based sources of plastic pollution. 

Virtual working groups 

The MEPC is expected to establish the following virtual groups: 

  • Working Group on Air Pollution and Energy Efficiency
  • Working Group on Marine Plastic Litter
  • Ballast Water Review Group

Timetable and agenda  

Note: See MEPC 77/1/1 which includes the proposed timetable.  

 

Photo credit: Nilantha Ilangamuwa from Unsplash
Published: 18 November, 2021

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