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MEPC 74: ClassNK covers Air Pollution in preliminary report

20 May 2019

Classification society ClassNK on Monday (20 May) provided a preliminary report of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 74) meeting which ended on Friday.

The report, based on informal information obtained from participants from ClassNK and Working Papers distributed during MEPC 74, provided a section detailing IMO 2020 and its related developments.

The section produced in its entirety is as follows:

2. Air pollution

2.1 Sampling of fuel oil used on board
Onboard sampling for the verification of the sulphur content of fuel oil used on board ships is undertaken occasionally at PSC inspection or flag states inspection. At MEPC 70, Guidelines for onboard sampling for the verification of the sulphur content of fuel oil used on board ships were adopted (MEPC.1/Circ.864).

At this session, draft amendments to MARPOL Annex VI to mandate the designated sampling points for the verification of the sulphur content of fuel oil used on board ships, and draft amendments to Appendix VI of MARPOL Annex VI to specify verification procedures for the sulphur content of the fuel oil sample were approved. The draft amendments will be adopted at MEPC 75.

2.2 2020 global cap of sulphur content in fuel oils
At MEPC 70, it was agreed to set a global sulphur limit in fuel oil of 0.5% from 1 January 2020.

At this session, 2019 Guidelines for Consistent Implementation of the 0.50% Sulphur Limit under MARPOL Annex VI were adopted. These Guidelines provide the following contents for the implementation of 2020 global sulphur cap.

  • Properties of fuel oil to be considered
  • Inspection items by flag States and PSC
  • Notification of Fuel Oil Non-Availability Report (FONAR) to flag States and port States

2.3 Guidance on contingency measures for addressing non-compliant fuel oil
If a ship is unable to obtain compliant fuel oil despite its best efforts, the ship shall submit a Fuel Oil Non-Availability Report (FONAR) to flag States and port States, as stated in item 2.2. Under this circumstance, to address the case where the ship loads non-compliant fuel oil on board, it was agreed to publish a MEPC circular on guidance for port State control on contingency measures for addressing non-compliant fuel oil.

This guidance invites, at next port of call, port State to consider whether the non-compliant fuel oil may be discharged to the port or retained on board, taking into account of environmental, safety, operational and logical implications. The port State, the flag State and the ship are also invited to work together to agree on the most appropriate solution to address the non-compliant fuel oil on board.

2.4 Discharge of wash water from exhaust gas cleaning system (EGCS)
Regulation 4 of MARPOL Annex VI permits an installation of EGCS as an equivalent measure for use of compliant fuel oil. Open-loop EGCS uses seawater as wash water and discharges overboard. The wash water discharge criteria are specified in 2015 Guidelines for EGCS (MEPC. 259. (68)), and wash water can be discharged, subject to compliance with these criteria. On the other hand, the movement to prohibit the use of open-loop

EGCS at some ports arises due to the concern on the impact to marine environment.

At this session, new work programme of MEPC was agreed to investigate the environmental impact by the wash water discharged from EGCS. The investigation will be started at PPR Sub-Committee to be held in February 2020.

2.5 Failure of exhaust gas cleaning system (EGCS)
It was recognized an urgent need to consider the situation where EGCS fails to meet the provision of 2015 Guidelines for EGCS.

At this session, Guidance on indication of ongoing compliance in the case of the failure of a single monitoring instrument, and recommended actions to take if the EGCS fails to meet the provisions of the guidelines was adopted. The Guidance specifies procedures against a short-term temporary emission exceedance, and actions to take if long-term exceedance occurs, -i.e. changeover to compliant fuel oil and notification to flag States and port States.

Source: ClassNK Preliminary Report of MEPC 74
Photo credit: International Maritime Organization

Published: 21 May, 2019

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