IMO’s Marine Environmental Protection Committee meets next week to consider key changes to international shipping regulations

Under the guidance of Andreas Chrysostomou the IMO’s key environmental forum, the Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC), will meet next week in London to continue action on several key legislative changes.

INTERTANKO will be attending with a strong delegation to cover revisions to Annex I and II of MARPOL, continued work on the ballast water management Convention, a review of the Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas (PSSA) Guidelines, inadequacy of port reception facilities, antifouling systems and air pollution from ships. INTERTANKO, alone and together with other industry partners, has a number of papers submitted on these issues and will be present in all the working groups as well as being engaged in the plenary debates.

On ballast water management, the working group will continue its work from the previous week, focusing on completing Guidelines for the Approval of Ballast Water Treatment Systems, and Guidelines on the Use of Active Substances (Chemicals) in ballast treatment systems.

A controversial issue at the last MEPC meeting, air pollution will continue to be debated at this session, with key political concerns being raised regarding the IMO’s remit to act on Green House Gas emissions and regulate those countries which have not ratified the Kyoto Protocol. INTERTANKO’s focus, however, will be on the implementation and associated practicalities of MARPOL Annex VI, with comments having been submitted regarding the NOx Technical Code.

As a fall-out of the changes to Regulation 13, Annex I to MARPOL, there are still elements of single-hull phase-out that require clarification by the IMO. INTERTANKO’s paper has requested clarification on the application of the Condition Assessment Scheme (CAS) to category 2 and 3 single hull tankers aged less than 15 years.

Annex II of MARPOL (noxious liquid substances) will also be under consideration at the meeting. Amendments to Annex II are now at a final stage and are due to be approved by the Committee at this session with an expected entry into force of 1 January 2007. INTERTANKO remains active on this issue and will continue to represent the best interests of its collective membership.

Evidencing its ongoing good relationhips with environmental organisations present at IMO, INTERTANKO and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)have jointly submitted a paper stressing the importance, both to industry and the environment, of states ratifying the Antifouling Systems Convention (AFS), which bans the use of TBT based anti-foulings.

INTERTANKO has submitted two papers jointly with the International Chamber of Shipping, providing recommendations on changes to the Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas (PSSAs) Guidelines, aimed at ensuring that a more rigorous and detailed review process is established by the IMO when in receipt of applications for new PSSAs from Member States.

An information document submitted by INTERTANKO will provide details of the research project on effective crude oil washing led by Dr. Timothy Gunner. Significant to the environmental concerns of this committee is the potential benefit to the environment (reduced volatile organic compounds) from reducing the pressure used in crude oil washing machines.

Contact: Tim Wilkins