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Thursday, September 20, 2018

REPORT FROM THE IMO WORKING GROUP FOR THE EVALUATION OF THE SAFETY AND POLLUTION HAZARDS OF CHEMICAL IN BULK BY SHIPS (ESPH)

GESAMP product evaluation

An item of particular interest during the IMO-ESPH working group meeting in London this week was the progress to date of the GESAMP product evaluation.  GESAMP (UN Group of experts on scientific aspects for marine pollution) stated that it was initially promised that the product re-evaluation would be completed at the rate of about 100 substances per meeting, and therefore the full evaluation would take over 6 meetings to complete. GESAMP is presently maintaining this target. Progress to date equates to 50% of the products that should be evaluated by BLG 6 (December 2000).On this basis there should be an additional 100 products evaluated by April 2001, and a further 100 products evaluated by early 2002. This will be a total of 80% (or 520 products by the time of BLG-7 in 2002).

After BLG-7 BHS, one more meeting would be required to complete 100% product evaluation, which in reality means 2003. However, there is estimated to be between 50-100 products on which there is insufficient data to make a full evaluation (such as columns A1 & B1). Therefore it may not be possible to evaluate 100% of the products.

The question was raised as to how many products needed to be evaluated in order to make a decision regarding pollution categorisation. The general opinion of the working group was that 50% evaluation was sufficient. The United States felt that 75-80% evaluation would be required.

It was agreed that a list of “big movers” (important cargoes that would change hazard category) would be established by the group based upon the products in IBC chapters 17 and 18, in order that GESAMP may evaluate these products as soon as possible.  The definitive list of “big movers” will be attached to the ESPH/6 final report, which, when produced, will be covered in a future Weekly NEWS article.

Fire fighting Medium in the IBC Code - Paper BLG 5/8/1 section 4.12

An issue raised at the ESPH working group of IMO in London this week related to the continued inclusion of information relating to the fire-fighting medium and the question of whether this should continue to be indicated in column “I” of chapter 17 of the IBC Code. This matter was raised because it was stated by IMO that the fire-fighting mediums recorded in this column were simply based upon what the manufactures were stating on their MSDS, and were, in many cases, not due to testing but based upon calculation. A follow-on question from this was whether all suitable fire-fighting mediums should continue to be listed or if just the most “appropriate” fire-fighting medium should be stated. The response by INTERTANKO was that column “I” should remain within chapter 17 of the IBC Code. The basis for this argument by INTERTANKO was as follows:

  • The information in column “I” had stood the test of time
  • The information was concise and relevant.
  • By virtue of being listed in the IBC Code it lent a strong element of credibility to the fire-fighting medium’s suitability for that product, and was accordingly a definitive source of such information.
  • The lack of such information in the IBC Code could result in an increase in chemical tanker detentions by port states, etc. due to misrepresentation of the correct information from different sources by various port state controls.

For further information on the IMO ESPH meeting, please contact Howard Snaith: howard.snaith@intertanko.com