INTERTANKO attended this week the 47th session of IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC). Although a report of the session will be given later, we summarise below the significant contribution of the INTERTANKO delegation (Dimitris Stamoudis of Ceres, Dragos Rauta, Howard Snaith, Tim Wilkins and Timothy Gunner) through submissions to the sessions and through active participation in the debates.

Amendments to 13G (phase-out of single hull tankers) will come into force on 1 September 2002

According to information provided at this week’s MEPC session, the IMO Secretariat has not received any reservations on the implementation of the new amendments to Regulation 13G. Thus, this regulation will enter into force on 1 September this year.

MEPC also discussed a couple of issues on which IACS had requested clarification:

  • Tankers that under the current 13G are due to be phased out between September and December 2002 will be phased out under the new regime. This means one extra year of trade. MEPC agreed that there were very few of these tankers (built in 1972) still trading. It was also agreed that it is very difficult to overcome the lack of clarity introduced by the new amendments (i.e. the new amendments enter into force in September 2002 but the phase-out table starts 1 January 2003).
  • Tankers between 20,000 and 29,999 dwt when carrying persistent oil and not having PL/SBT - should they be category 1 or category 2 ships? According to one suggested interpretation, they should be treated as category 1 and thus phased out at an earlier stage. There was no decision on this because this category of tankers was not required to have PL/SBTs until 1996 and the impact of this proposed interpretation needs to be assessed.  A brief review of INTERTANKO membership indicates that there are 159 tankers within this size category but 52 are chemical tankers, 2 product/chemical, 24 crude carriers and 4 gas carriers. There are only 75 product oil tankers but it is not known whether they have PL/SBTs or not. It is important to remember that USCG has a rule requiring that from 1987, all tankers below 40,000 dwt calling at the US ports have PL/CBTs. Of these 75 product tankers registered with INTERTANKO, 2 were delivered in 1996 (maybe double hulls), 31 were delivered between 1987 and 1995 (maybe already with PL/SBTs?) and 42 were delivered in 1986 and earlier. Of these 42 product tankers, 12 will have to be phased out at similar dates irrespective of whether they are category 1 or category 2 tankers. For the remaining 30 tankers, in case they do not have PL/SBT(or CBT) and are considered as category 1 ships, they could have to be phased out as early as 2007 instead of being phased out within the period 2008 to 2012, depending on each individual ship’s delivery date. According to our records, these 75 tankers registered with INTERTANKO are operated by 21 different member companies and we would be interested in feedback or further information that would assist us in making our assessment. Please contact Dragos Rauta,

Model Standard CAS Survey Plan

IACS and INTERTANKO have jointly submitted a Model CAS Survey Plan that would require all Societies and all tanker operators to follow similar procedures on planning for their surveys. The final model will be made available shortly, after approval by MEPC. This Model Plan will probably become mandatory once the new amendments to 13G enter into force 1 September 2002.

Extent of Crude Oil Washing (COW) in double hull tanks

OCIMF has asked for changes to the IMO rules to reduce the extent of COW on double hull tankers. The reasons given were less framing and structures within the cargo tanks of double hulls (i.e. less time to wash) and consequently a reduction in the VOC emissions (i.e. environmental benefit). The OCIMF suggestion also stated that should the Master decide more COW is needed then he should be allowed to carry this out.

INTERTANKO submitted a paper in which it demonstrated that the reduction of VOC emissions from COW can be obtained through more practical measures and that INTERTANKO envisages a study on this. We recommended MEPC to make no changes to COW procedures without first having tested the new techniques (e.g. INTERTANKO Study CRUCLEAN). INTERTANKO also stated that although the cargo tanks have smoother surfaces, they still contain deep stringers and the flat surface of these is approximately equivalent to 40% to 50% of the tank surface bottom area.

The INTERTANKO view had the full support of Governments and other NGOs. OCIMF was invited to consider joining our study. For the time being COW rules will therefore stay unchanged.

Homogenising fuel sludge onboard

Germany has submitted a paper proposing that ships should not be allowed to purify fuel but to use a technique of homogenizing the sludge back into bunker tanks and thus minimizing the need for sludge disposal. INTERTANKO submitted a paper in response demonstrating that the method being proposed would bring associated risks of clogging filters and maybe, in the worse case scenario, lead to black out of the engine.

As a result of our paper, Germany withdrew their paper.

Double bottom under tanker’s pump rooms

The UK proposed to adopt a mandatory design for double bottom for the tanker’s pump rooms. The reason was to protect these spaces from flooding after a grounding accident and thus help cargo transfer and/or salvage.

INTERTANKO submitted a paper which, without challenging the benefit of a double bottom protection under the pump rooms in case of a grounding, did however explain that this design would raise considerably the vertical position of pumps and thus would have a negative impact on ship’s stripping capability. The immediate side effect of such a new design could result in more sludge in cargo tanks and thus more pollution threat. Comparing the very rare event of tanker grounding with the damage to the pump room bottom that might result from such a design in daily operations, INTERTANKO has recommended that MPEC thoroughly review this suggestion before taking a decision.

MEPC agreed with INTERTANKO.

Ship recycling and ballast water are dealt with separately in the following two articles.

Contact: Dragos Rauta