INTERTANKO at meeting of the Working Group on the Evaluation of Safety and Pollution Hazards (ESPH 9).

INTERTANKO recently participated in the 9th Session of the IMO Working Group on the Evaluation of Safety and Pollution Hazards (ESPH 9). Margaret Doyle and Howard Snaith attended the meetings held in London from 1-5 September 2003. ESPH 9 was chaired by Mrs. Marja Tiemens-Idzinga from the Netherlands. The group included delegations from 11 countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Russia, the UK, and the USA) and 6 non-governmental organizations (CEFIC, DGAC, IAPH, ICS, INTERTANKO, and IPTA).

A good portion of the meeting focused on the agenda item: ‘Review of the Text of the IBC Code as a Result of Changes to the Classification System and Criteria for Assigning Carriage Requirements’. These amendments to the IBC Code have become necessary as a result of the proposed revisions to MARPOL Annex II. This document was reviewed and changes or further amendments made. These amendments were mainly operational and consequential and will form part of the amended IBC Code applicable to ships built after 1 July 1986.

This amendment process involved changes to the criteria for assigning ship types corresponding with the revised MARPOL Annex II. Products are assigned ship types relative to their safety and the pollution hazards. The change to the Globally Harmonised System of Classification (GHS system) required new criteria for assigning ship types on pollution grounds. The change of the pollution categorisation system was approved by MEPC 49.

If the pollution criteria indicate a ship type equal or higher than the existing one, the ship type resulting from the new pollution criteria would apply. However, if the pollution criteria indicated a ship type less than the existing one, the existing one would be left unchanged unless the change could be shown not to be due to safety properties.

The next edition of the IBC Code should take the form of a loose-leaf A4 format for inclusion/amendment of the pertinent MEPC or MSC Circulars, products lists, index, etc.

There will be additional amendments to the Code as a result of revisions to SOLAS, focusing on fire safety regulations under SOLAS 2/II. These amendments will in no way delay the likely entry into force date of 1 January 2007.

Additional actions on the ESPH 9 Agenda items included:

  • Evaluation of Cleaning Additives and New Products
  • Development of a Draft MEPC Resolution Allowing Derogations for the Transport of Vegetable Oils in Deep Tanks.
  • Consideration of the Method for Calculating the Safety and Pollution Hazards of Mixtures.
  • Review of MEPC.2/Circ.8 on Provisional Classification of Liquid Substances Tripartite Agreements will expire as of 17 Dec 2003
  • Consolidation and Evaluation of Special Chemical Groups (Currently Vegetable Oils and Polyols)

Although there was outstanding data, the GESAMP/GHS Working Group had provisionally evaluated the 17 specific vegetable oils identified by the industry as being transported in bulk by sea. This has allowed the Pollution Category and Ship Type to be determined for these products, but in future any additional vegetable oils will only be evaluated on the basis of the data provided. Data submitted for a range of polyols will be evaluated by the GESAMP/EHS Group in April 2004. The following three entries will be deleted from the next edition of the IBC Code:

  • Animal and fish oils, n.o.s.
  • Cashew nut shell oil
  • Vegetable oils, n.o.s.

The next meeting of the ESPH Group is tentatively scheduled for early September 2004. Members of the working group were urged to continue work on a system for calculating the Pollution Category and Ship Type for mixtures and submit any proposals in writing.

Contact: Margaret Doyle