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MEPC 74: IMO meeting starts with shipping and environment in spotlight

14 May 2019

The Marine Environment Protection Committee’s 74th session (MEPC 74) meeting scheduled between 13 to 17 May has started at International Maritime Organization (IMO) headquarters in London.

The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships is a key agenda item, following up on the initial IMO strategy on reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ships.

A set of draft guidelines and guidance documents to support the implementation of the 0.50% sulphur limit from 1 January 2020 is also set to be approved this week.

Other important agenda items include:

  • The adoption of MARPOL amendments to strengthen requirements regarding discharge of high-viscosity substances, such as certain vegetable oils and paraffin-like cargoes
  • Follow-up to the follow up on the IMO Action Plan to address marine plastic litter from ships
  • Implementation of the Ballast Water Management Convention
  • Approval, for future adoption, of draft amendments to the International Convention for the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships (AFS), to include controls on the biocide cybutryne

“MEPC74 is the last opportunity to ensure the safe, smooth and consistent implementation of the global 0.5% sulfur content marine fuel regulation from 2020 and effectively address the many and serious challenges that arise,” said Theodoros Veniamis, President of the Greek Union of Shipowners.

“This last opportunity should not be a missed opportunity.”

He pointed out many well-known gaps in the IMO 2020 regulation which may lead to practical problems in its implementation and enforcement that need to be resolved.

The British Ports Association, meanwhile, notes it is watching IMO with “apprehension” this week, according to its Chief Executive.

“Slow steaming has a role to play, and already has helped bring down emissions,” said Richard Ballantyne, commenting on proposals for mandatory speed limits.

“These proposals should be debated in a robust manner, but we have some concerns over mandatory slow steaming.

“It is not a panacea and may well have knock-on effects that have not been fully considered. Access to ports for certain vessels is often dependent on factors such as the weather and tides, and mandatory speed limits could make it more difficult for vessels and ports to plan calls.”

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RelatedDecreasing vessel speeds offer ‘false impression’ of GHG reductions
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RelatedMPEC 74: LR shares Agenda Preview for upcoming IMO meeting

Photo credit: International Maritime Organization
Published: 14 May, 2019

 

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