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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

POINTS OF VIEW

At long last there are more visible signs of life on the MARPOL Annex VI front. In the forefront was INTERTANKO’s Guide to bunkering of ships for the purposes of Annex VI to MARPOL, published in June this year. Now bunker suppliers are wising up, and classification societies are busy certifying engines – with class now offering what it calls ‘an aggressive campaign’ to assist shipowners with obtaining their International Air Pollution Prevention Certificates. The media is listening and writing. Soon we could be seeing dedicated conferences and opportunistic consultants as the 2005-2008 implementation deadline approaches.

It’s a pity that it has taken so long to get this worthy regulation up and running. Annex VI was adopted as long ago as 1997, that is seven years back. The long slow ratification process of this particular regulation is a classic example of how individual countries can slow down the process by dithering over whether or not to sign up for it. For a long time it sat with ratifications from countries with just over the 50% of world merchant shipping tonnage required for entry into force, but with only 11 countries signed up out of the 15 required.

The shipping industry was pushing hard last summer to speed things up - INTERTANKO sent a personal letter to key ministers on behalf of the Round Table of international shipping associations. But for a lot of that time Europe has been busy with its own unilateral regulation which has taken the eye of many EU countries off the Annex VI ratification process. Finally in May this year Samoa became the 15th country to ratify Annex VI, triggering its entry into force in May next year.

But despite the important content of this Annex, which limits the discharge of nitrogen oxides from larger marine diesel engines, governs the sulphur content of marine diesel fuel to be used, prohibits the emission of ozone-depleting compounds, and sets standards for shipboard incinerators and fuel oil quality, there are still at least eight EU countries that have still not ratified it – including some of those who are most active in enforcing the EU’s own particular low sulphur rule.