MEPC 56 - update on Special Areas

Last week we reported on the developments at the IMO's Marine Environmental Protection Committee meeting (MEPC 56) while awaiting final confirmation on some of the key issues which were still being discussed as we went to press.


The "Gulfs" Special Area as defined in MARPOL Annex I (the sea area located north west of the rhumb line between Ras al Hadd and Ras el Fasteh) has been under review since 1973. It was therefore a ground-breaking decision last week when the Committee agreed that the ROPME (Regional Organisation for the Protection of the Marine Environment) Sea Area (RSA) states had fulfilled their obligation in providing adequate port waste reception facilities to allow the designation to take effect.


Consequently, the Committee has agreed that the Special Area discharge requirements for ships as per MARPOL Annex I will take effect in the Gulfs Special Area from 1 August 2008. An official IMO circular announcing this will be issued shortly. In the meantime, we would remind members to continue to alert INTERTANKO to any alleged inadequate facilities in this, or any other region. Click here to download the reporting form which should be sent to both INTERTANKO and your flag administration simultaneously.


South Africa had also submitted its report on the adequacy of port reception facilities which would allow the Committee to agree that the Southern South African Waters Special Area, as agreed in October 2006, would also take effect as of 1 August 2008. INTERTANKO has previously encouraged members to adopt the MARPOL Annex I and V discharge requirements in this region prior to the entry into force date and agreement (see Weekly News 43/2006 dated 27 October 2006)


Contact: Tim Wilkins