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Wednesday, October 17, 2018


The final day of the 44th meeting of IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee was on Monday 13th March. The following is a brief summary of the significant issues raised at the meeting.

Harmful Aquatic Organisms in Ballast Water

It was agreed that a two-tier system was going to be the basis for the legal instrument. The first tier would be a baseline legislation that required all vessels to carry out a form of ballast water management, or at least to be prepared to do so (the details of which are to be established at the next meeting). The second tier will be optional. States will decide whether to establish control areas in which vessels will have to carry out more rigorous ballast water management. In both tiers the criteria will be set by the IMO and discussed further at the next meeting. The progress made by this working group during the meeting was significant and should allow for the development of an instrument much sooner than was anticipated at the previous meetings.

Harmful Effects of the use of anti-fouling Paints for Ships

A draft instrument that applies to international vessels (including FPSO’s and FSU’s) has now been developed and is ready for a detailed review at the next meeting. Questions of how the entry into force criteria will be established, e.g. through tonnage or number of states principles, are yet to be decided. A further question to be answered at the next meeting will be that of whether the TBT based paints should remain on the hull or be removed before a new type of anti-fouling is applied.

Ship Recycling

A formal Correspondence Group has been established which will gather information and assess the steps that IMO could take on the issue. In particular it will focus on design, operation and preparation for recycling of ships. A report will be given at the 46th meeting when it is anticipated that a code of practice will have been established and a hazardous substance inventory will be developed.

Air Pollution

The approval to amend Regulation 16(2) of Annex VI on the application of the North Sea as an Emission Control Area was given. Furthermore, a resolution regarding the assured availability of low-sulphur fuels in the North Sea area was also approved.

Inadequacy of Port Reception Facilities

The Committee agreed upon and adopted the ‘Guidelines for ensuring the adequacy of port waste reception facilities’, which will be published after a few editorial alterations. It will also be available through the internet.

Presentation by HELMEPA

Two children from Junior HELMEPA in Greece gave a presentation on the Friday, in plenary. Urging the IMO to continue its work to protect the marine environment, they outlined their success in lobbying for action to be taken to improve the marine environment in Greece. The Committee were spirited in their appreciation of such well-presented speeches, especially in respect of the well-written content and the excellent English used.

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