IMO Working Group on the Evaluation of Safety and Pollution Hazards (ESPH) met during BLG 10 this week

INTERTANKO participated in the latest session of the IMO Working Group on the Evaluation of Safety and Pollution Hazards (ESPH 10) held during the 10th. Session of the Bulk Liquids and Gases (BLG 10) at the IMO  in London from 3-7 April 2006.  The ESPH session was chaired by Mrs. Marja Tiemens-Idzinga from the Netherlands. The group included delegations from 16 countries (Bahamas, Belgium, China, France, Germany, Japan, Iran, Malaysia, The Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Spain, Sweden, Russia, United Kingdom, and the United States) and 6 non-governmental organizations (ICS, IAPH, ICS, INTERTANKO, CEFIC and IPTA).

Although the Subcommittee instructed the Working Group to address over 15 agenda items, time constraints required that some of the items be deferred to the 12th Session of ESPH (ESPH 12).  

Agenda items discussed included:

The Evaluation of New Products
At this session, only three submissions were reviewed, Distilled Resin Oil, Oxygenated Aliphatic Hydrocarbon Mixture and Alkyl Benzene Mixtures (containing at least 50 % toluene).  The recommended classifications and carriage requirements for these products are set out at Annex 1 of the ESPH Final Report.  As indicated above, this report will be included in the Weekly NEWS when available.

Preparation of an Interim List of Products and Subsequent BLG Circular
ESPH prepared an interim list of all future amendments agreed upon since the adoption of the amended IBC Code in 2004.  This interim list will be comprised of three groups:

  • Products omitted from the amended IBC Code due to missing data which now have a complete GESAMP/EHS hazard profile and have been classified.
  • New products which have been classified since the adoption of the amended IBC Code.
  • Products which appear in the amended IBC Code but have since been amended based on additional or new data.

This list will be issued as an interim measure through a BLG Circular so as not to interfere with the number sequencing of the numbering of MEPC.2/Circ.  The issue of whether the products listed in the BLG Circular will be included in the next edition of the MEPC.2/Circular will be discussed at ESPH 12.

The cover note on this BLG Circular also reiterates that when a cargo is loaded prior to the entry into force date and unloaded after the entry into force date of the Revised Annex II to MARPOL 72/78, the classification of the cargo at the time of loading should remain legal until it has been unloaded and the consequential requirements have been met. 

It is important to also note that if tripartite agreements concluded under the current system are to be transferred to the revised system the expiry date remains the same.

The Report of the 42nd Session of the Working Group on the Evaluation of the Hazards of Harmful Substances Carried by Ships
As expected much of the ESPH’s work focused on the review of the substances reviewed at GESAMP/EHS 42 and the subsequent Report.  The products coal tar Pitch (molten) and Creosote (coal tar) were not evaluated because of ongoing dialogue on these products.  These products will be evaluated at ESPH 12 in September. 

Other products discussed include Urea/Ammonium Nitrate solution (containing aqua ammonia) which after discussions with the manufacturer need re-evaluation but no re-evaluation of the pollution category, ship type or carriage requirements.  Pyrolysis gasoline was also evaluated and categorized. It was agreed that in order to protect the mariner, the name of the product will be changed to pyrolysis gasoline (containing benzene). 

Chapter 19 of the IBC Code will be revised to include the removal of the synonyms for pyrolysis gasoline and transference of the synonyms for vegetable oils into Annex 6 of the MEPC.2/Circ. 

MEPC.2 List 2
In discussion of List 2 (mixtures), the deadline for these products to be included in the MEPC.2/Circ 12, which will be published 31 December 2006, is 30 September 2006.

Products Still Missing Data
For any products still on the “Missing Data” lists (there are about 60 left).  ESPH proposed that for the substance still on this list or for products submitted prior to the 2005 deadline but still missing some data; the possibility exists for these substances to be “tripartited” if and only if the confirmation has been received that all of the required data has been sent to GESAMP/EHS.   

Items to be reported directly to MEPC 55
At the 54th Session of the Marine and Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) it was decided that ESPH can report directly to MEPC 55 (and MSC 82) on certain items to be identified by BLG 10.  The reason for this is the time constraints for the balance of 2006; the last year before the Revised Annex II and amended IBC Code come into force.  (BLG 11 meets after this deadline in April 2007).  Items identified include:

  • Evaluation of new products submitted to ESPH 12
  • Consolidation of synonyms for vegetable oils ( following the work completed by GESAMP EHS in June 2006)
  • Review of MEPC.2/Circ (31 December 2006)

Other issues discussed at this session of ESPH included:

  • Finalization of the consolidated list of vegetable oils
  • Draft of the BLG Circular for the use of the correct product name in the shipping document for bulk liquid cargoes
  • The development of an optional shipping document and subsequent circular
  • Review of the Guidelines for transport of the limited amounts of hazardous and noxious liquid substances in bulk by offshore vessels

Next meeting of ESPH 10
The next meeting of the ESPH Group (ESPH 12) is scheduled for 4-8 September 2006.  A full report of the proceedings including a copy of the full report and subsequent Annexes will be included in the next issue of the Weekly NEWS.  

Contact:Margaret Doyle