Vegetable oil industry remains concerned regarding sufficient tonnage

INTERTANKO recently participated in a meeting of the National Institute of Oilseed Products (NIOP) Technical Committee held in Washington, DC on 8 June 2004. INTERTANKO’s Chemicals Manager, Margaret Doyle, was asked to provide the Committee with a follow-up to the 51st Session of the IMO Marine and Environment Protection Committee (MEPC). Representatives from the US Delegation to MEPC and NIOP were also asked to comment on this agenda item.

As previously reported, INTERTANKO conducted a chemical tonnage impact study taking into account the proposed revisions within MARPOL Annex II for pollution and ship type criteria. INTERTANKO submitted this paper (MEPC 51/11/6) to the IMO and it was discussed at MEPC 51 (March 29-April 2.) At MEPC 51, the Committee recollected that over the years concerns had been expressed regarding potential disruptions to trade by these proposed revisions but the Committee noted that such concerns had not been substantiated by any submitted documents.

Despite the findings and conclusions of MEPC 51, the vegetable oil industry remains concerned that there is sufficient tonnage to cope with the proposed changes within MARPOL Annex II.

The primary purpose of INTERTANKO’s participation at the NIOP Meeting was to clarify the proposal made by some states at MEPC 51. This proposal envisaged that, assuming a specific shortage of tonnage to transport an identified vegetable oil, then regulation 2 (7) of the current text of MARPOL Annex II can provide a mechanism by which an Administration may modify or delay for a specific period the application of the revised requirements for the carriage of that cargo.

Some sources are interpreting this as allowing double-hull product tankers that comply with OPA 90/Annex I, to carry vegetable oil. Such ships would most likely meet ship type 3 requirements but would not be able to meet all type 2 chemical carrier requirements

Another interpretation is that Type 3 double hull chemical tankers that meet the construction requirements for Type 2 vessels (double bottom at least B/15 at centreline; double sides not less than 760 mm) may be used as an alternative for the transport of vegetable oils. Member States will be required to prove to the IMO that there is a shortage of tonnage available for the transport of an identified vegetable oil. INTERTANKO has requested a clarification from the delegation submitting the original proposal.

At the NIOP Technical Committee INTERTANKO reiterated the drafted text to the new IBC Code and agreed that the changes to the IBC Code are amendments and will not be viewed as forming a new code. The draft changes have been approved at MEPC 51 and will be put forward for adoption as a pink paper at MEPC 52 in December 2004.

Also included in the INTERTANKO presentation was a synopsis of the report of session 40 of the GESAMP (Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection). All products expected to move to Type 2 ship type including palm and soybean oil have been reclassified. The relevant paragraphs of the report of the 40th session of the GESAMP Working Group on the Evaluation of the Hazards of Harmful Substances carried by Ship (EHS 40) were presented to the NIOP Technical Committee and included as a part of the INTERTANKO report to the Technical Committee.

Contact: Margaret Doyle