INTERTANKO conducts independent study on vegoils and Type 2 tonnage requirements

In response to a request by a number of members representing vegetable oil transporters, INTERTANKO is conducting an independent study on the future tonnage availability relative to the MARPOL Annex II Revisions.

Certain sectors have expressed concern that the implementation of the MARPOL Annex II Revisions in 2007 will result in a severe shortage of available tonnage to carry certain vegetable oils. There is also concern that the original data submitted to IMO during the Eighth Session of the Bulk Liquids and Gases Subcommittee (BLG 8) may be incorrect. INTERTANKO, in the interest of developing statistics that are as accurate as possible, is collecting and reviewing all relevant data as part of an independent study of the issue. The results of the study will be available in early December.

The results of the Ninth Session of the Working Group on the Evaluation of Safety and Pollution Hazards of Chemicals (ESPH 9) held 1-5 September 2003 were reported in INTERTANKO Weekly News No. 37 of 27 November 2003. The work done at ESPH 9 followed decisions made at MEPC 49 held in July 2003 (see Weekly News No. 29 of 18 July 2003). At MEPC 49 the Committee decided on the pollution categorisation system for the revised MARPOL Annex II, whereas ESPH 9 focused on ship typing criteria and other consequential amendments to the IBC Code. If approved, the new pollution categorisation system will be based on the three-category system, but will feature a fourth category consisting of cargoes that can genuinely be shown to pose no threat to the marine environment. Eight products have been identified for this fourth category, which will be completely unregulated under the revised annex. All other products will be regulated by discharge and stripping criteria. Products are assigned to ship types according to both safety and pollution hazards. Due to the switch to the Globally Harmonised System of Classification (GHS system) it was necessary to define new criteria for assigning ship types on pollution grounds.

According to the criteria recently agreed, all Category X and Y products will have to be carried on chemical tankers. This is in line with the current criteria, according to which all products in pollution category C and above have to be carried on chemical tankers. In addition, any Category Z products that are not readily biodegradable or are shown to be toxic to marine life will have to be carried on chemical tankers. Products that display a higher level of toxicity, a tendency to bio accumulate or that present particular health hazards, such as carcinogenicity, will be assigned to Type 2 or Type 1 tanks. Products defined as “Persistent Floaters” will be assigned to Type 2 tanks.

As of ESPH 9 there were still a number of cargoes, including the animal and vegetable oils, for which little or no pollution data had been provided. In the case of vegetable oils, although the industry has still not provided full data, despite a specific request from MEPC, the GESAMP group of scientists agreed to produce hazard profiles based on the limited data available on some seventeen vegetable oils. GESAMP has indicated for some time now that other products which cannot be evaluated due to lack of full data will not be allowed to be carried in bulk.

All the decisions made still have to be formally adopted by the MEPC at IMO in October 2004, but it is anticipated that the revised Annex and amended IBC Code will enter into force on 1 January 2007.

Contact: Margaret Doyle