10th Session of the IMO Working Group on the Evaluation of Safety and Pollution Hazards (ESPH 10)

INTERTANKO participated in the 10th Session of the IMO Working Group on the Evaluation of Safety and Pollution Hazards (ESPH 10) at the IMO. INTERTANKO Chemicals Manager, Margaret Doyle, attended the meetings held in London from 29 August through 3 September 2004. ESPH 10 was chaired by Mrs. Marja Tiemens-Idzinga from the Netherlands. The group included delegations from 11 countries (Bahamas, Belgium, France, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Russia, the UK, and the USA) and 5 non-governmental organisations (ICS, IAPH, ICS, INTERTANKO, and IPTA). Agenda items discussed included:

The evaluation of cleaning additives, the evaluation of new products

At this session, the majority of the submissions dealt with proposals for entries for vegetable oils and matters related to vegetable oils.

The Group expressed concern that for some of the vegetable oils, discrepancies existed between the submissions to GESAMP/EHS Working Group and those submitted to ESPH 10, particularly regarding free fatty acid concentrations in these products.

ESPH 10 agreed that blended and co-mingled vegetable oils should be treated like any other mixture submitted and be assessed in accordance with the calculation guidelines for the assignment of pollutant only mixtures containing products already assessed by the IMO. Producing and shipping countries are urged to initiate the tripartite agreements in accordance with MEPC 265 and inform the IMO.

Review of MEPC.2/Circ.9 on Provisional Classification of Liquid Substances Transported in Bulk

There is a growing concern within the Group regarding data not being submitted within the timeframe allowed. At ESPH 10, only ten percent of the substances that were given an extension at ESPH 9 submitted data for 2004.

There was also some discussion on the problem of initiating tripartite (initial cargo classification) agreements when the shipping country is not a signatory to MARPOL, or does not have the procedures in place for same.

Regarding the chemical database currently being maintained by the Secretariat, the Group agreed that there is an absolute need for the IMO to take the necessary measures to ensure that the resources are in place to make sure that the chemical data base is modified in structure and updated in content so that this data can be of use to both industry and the IMO.

Development of criteria consideration of the method for calculating the safety and pollution hazards of mixtures.

The group recognised that further consideration was required before a system could be recommended to MEPC and agreed that the two approaches proposed by the Netherlands and Japan could serve as a basis for further developments. Members of the working group were urged to continue review of this system.

Consideration of the outcome of and instructions from MEPC 51

At MEPC 51, ESPH was instructed to undertake actions relative to the 2002 Consolidated Edition of Annex II to MARPOL 73/78. The group deliberated on these Guidelines but due to time constraints, some of the work was deferred to BLG 9 and/or future sessions of ESPH.

MEPC/Circ .265 was reviewed as well as the BLG Product Data Report form. The Group agreed that the procedures for submitting data to both GESAMP/EHS and ESPH should be reconsidered. It was also recognised that the guidelines for completing the BLG Product Data Report Form needed further consideration.

Development of the Revised IBC Code

The BCH Code applies to those chemical tankers built before 1 July 1986, so its applicability to these chemical tankers is expected to drop within a few years after 2007 when the revised IBC Code comes into force. The amendments to the BCH Code (relative to the Revised Marpol Annex II 73/78 and consequential amendment to the IBC Code) were identified at ESPH 10.

Next meeting of ESPH 10

The next meeting of the ESPH Group is tentatively scheduled for early September 2004.

Click here for a full report of the proceedings and future work programme.

Contact:Margaret Doyle