INTERTANKO submits discussion paper to IMO Working Group on Revision of Annex VI

MARPOL Annex VI was discussed extensively through the 1990s, adopted in 1997 and entered into force in 2005. It sets emission limits on sulphur oxide (SOx) with a global cap of 4.5% on the sulphur content of fuel oil and on nitrogen oxide (NOx) from ship’s engines. It also provides for sulphur emission control areas (SECAs), which limit the sulphur content of fuel to a maximum of 1.5% or require  exhaust gas cleaning systems. An IMO Working Group has been tasked with, and is now, reviewing Annex VI by considering possible changes and amendments with a target for their enforcement in 2010.


Over several years, we have seen growing public pressure around the world at local (port and coastal), regional and national levels for lower exhaust gas emissions from ships. Using the model of the Baltic and the North Sea/NW Europe, which are declared SECAs, there has been increasing demand for the expansion and establishment of new SECAs. There have been clear political moves to lower sulphur emissions from ships as well as NOx emissions and, now also, to introduce controls of particulate matter in engine exhaust gas streams.


INTERTANKO has submitted a document to the IMO Working Group that will be considering the development of revisions to Annex VI to MARPOL to reduce air emissions from ships worldwide when it meets in Oslo, Norway from 13-17 November 2006. The main purpose of the INTERTANKO submission is to "present issues that merit further discussion by the Working Group when considering the revision of Annex VI of MARPOL". These issues include the use of distillate fuels with a global sulphur content cap of 1.0% (reduced to a lower lever at some future point in time) and the establishment of a global Sulphur Emission Control Area (SECA).


Click here to view the INTERTANKO submission.


In 1997 the International Maritime Organization (IMO) held an international conference which adopted a Protocol to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), which included a new Annex VI to MARPOL for the Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships. Annex VI entered into force internationally in May 2005. In July 2005, the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the IMO agreed to conduct a review and revision of Annex VI to reduce the air emissions from ships.  An IMO Working Group was established to conduct this review and will be meeting next month in Oslo to consider technical proposals submitted by Member States and observer organisations to IMO.


It is INTERTANKO’s view that a strategy for the revision of Annex VI should be based upon:


1.      Ensuring a solid platform of requirements;

2.      Being realistic and feasible;

3.      Producing a positive and long term reduction of air emissions from ships; and

4.      Contributing to a long term and a predictable regulatory regime.


INTERTANKO’s members believe that it is important that there is an open debate at the international level on the subject of how best to meet the rapidly changing expectations for lower ship emissions and to ensure that the full burden of responsibility is not placed solely on the owner, ship and ship’s staff. The submission of this document will contribute positively to a full and frank discussion by the Working Group of the various solutions possible.


Contact: Dragos Rauta