BLG 11 - IMO Working Group on the Evaluation of Safety and Pollution Hazards (ESPH) meets during BLG 11

The latest session of the IMO Working Group on the Evaluation of Safety and Pollution Hazards (ESPH) was held during the 11th Session of the Bulk Liquids and Gases Sub-committee (BLG 11) this week in London. Chaired by Mrs. Marja Tiemens-Idzinga from the Netherlands, the ESPH Working Group included delegations from 20 countries (Belgium, Brazil, China, Estonia, Finland,  France, Germany, Israel, Iran, Japan, The Republic of Korea, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Spain, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic, U.K., and U.S.) and five non-governmental organisations (Dangerous Goods Advisory Council (DGAC), INTERTANKO, European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC), International Parcel Tankers Association (IPTA) and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS)).


Although the Sub-committee instructed the Working Group to address a number of agenda items, time constraints required that some of the items be deferred to the 13th Session of ESPH (ESPH 13).


Agenda items discussed included:


The Evaluation of cleaning additives


Although 57 cleaning additives were submitted for evaluation, because of the decisions to finalise the guidance note and reporting form on cleaning additives (MEPC/Circ .363), the evaluation of these products has been deferred until ESPH 13. The revised circular will be presented to the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) for approval in July 2007 (MEPC 56). All additives evaluated under the previous circular will eventually need to be resubmitted using the new Circular. 


All vessel owners and manufacturers are urged to review all relative additives and act accordingly. The current information found in Annex 10 of the current MEPC.2 Circ will cease to be valid three years after the adoption of the revised guideline (2010).  The draft revised guidance note and reporting form can be found in the Annex 2 of the ESPH Report to BLG 11. This report will be included in the Weekly NEWS as soon as it is available.


The evaluation of new products


At this session, only three submissions were reviewed: Palm Kernel Fatty Acid Distillate, Tall Oil Crude and Tall Oil Pitch. The recommended classifications and carriage requirements for these products are set out at Annex 1 of the ESPH Final Report. As indicated above, this report will be included in the Weekly NEWS as soon as it is available. 


Palm kernel fatty acid belongs to a group of vegetable oil fatty acid distillates reviewed at EHS 43 last year.  Due to the volume of work facing GESAMP at that time, classification of this product could not be conducted.  Using analogous ratings for this product, ESPH agreed on the pollution category, ship type and carriage requirements, which are pending confirmation by the GESAMP (Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection) Working Group on the Evaluation of the Hazards of Harmful Substances Carried by Ships (EHS). If confirmed, this cargo will be placed on list 1 of the next MEPC.2 Circular.


Tall oil crude and tall oil pitch are product entries that already exist in both the 2004 amendments of the IBC Code as well as the 2009 amendments. Slight changes to the special requirements were approved by the ESPH. The new carriage requirements for these products will be held in abeyance until the next set of amendments are  considered, most likely in 2011.


Consideration of the practical implications regarding the long term funding of the GESAMP/EHS Work Group


As a follow-up to the discussions in BLG (IMO's Bulk Liquids and Gases Sub-committee) plenary, ESPH was tasked by BLG 11 to discuss the funding options 2 and 3 (as outlined in BLG 11/3/1). Again these “options” deal with the long-term funding of the GESAMP/EHS Working Group.  The advantages and disadvantages of each of these were discussed at length. The options in BLG 11/3/1 include:

·         Option 2 – A cost sharing scheme for funding GESAMP/EHS

·         Option 3 – The cost should be borne by the applicants ( the manufacturer)

At the conclusion of a lengthy debate the ESPH has requested that BLG consider that option 3 is not viable given the diverse nature of the work of the GESAMP EHS Working Group.  If accepted by BLG, MEPC 56 will decide on the next step.


Review of MEPC.2 Circ – posting provisional tripartite agreements on the IMO website


This discussion was based on the submissions by  the International Parcel Tankers Association (IPTA) (BLG 11/3/3) and INTERTANKO (BLG 11/3/8). After a detailed dialogue on these submissions, it was decided that for the time being the information on provisional assessments should be made available on IMO’s public domain website.  For the long term, ESPH has requested that BLG appeal to the MEPC to consider adding a new module to the Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GSIS) database specifically for tripartite agreements. 

Other issues discussed at this session of ESPH included:

The  discussion of the synonyms and anomalies in Chapter 19 of the published IBC Code (as directed by MSC 82). This task, which originated at MSC 82, was discussed but it was soon realised there was no reason to justify removing the current synonyms. Any review will require a certain level of expertise and the necessary commitment was unavailable at this session of the ESPH. This will be re-evaluated at ESPH 13.

Next meeting of ESPH


The next meeting of the ESPH Group (ESPH 13) is scheduled for 22-26 October in Tokyo.  In addition to the standard items, the ESPH 13 work programme will include items not undertaken during ESPH 12 as well the standard ESPH work:

·         Review of the cleaning additives originally submitted based on the new Circular (Guidance and Reporting Form);

·         Discussion of BLG 11/10 – a submission considering the application of the requirements for the carriage of biofuels and biofuel blends; 

·         Preparation of a BLG circular that reflects the decisions to use, where applicable, generic entries in the IBC Code;

·         Review and complete as necessary the information set out in document BLG 11/3/2 on the interpretation of ratings of the GESAMP Hazard Profiles for classification purposes;

·         Development of funding arrangements for the work of GESAMP EHS taking into account the decisions made by MEPC 56.

A full report of the ESPH proceedings, including a copy of the full report and subsequent Annexes, will be contained in the next issue of the Weekly NEWS. 

Contact: Margaret Doyle