MEPC 56 - IMO Group of Experts on Maritime Fuels established

The IMO Secretary General proposed this week to the IMO Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC) the establishment of a Group of Experts to address the various options and alternatives for the reduction of air emissions from ships by either using distillate fuels globally, or continuing to use residual fuels but reducing air emissions from ships using onboard technologies in pre-determined areas (SECAs).


The Group has been announced and held its first meeting on 11 July under the chairmanship of Mike Hunter (U.K.). 23 members have been nominated by Governments (USA, Germany, Sweden, Japan, UK, Saudi Arabia, Norway), environmental groups (Friends of the Earth International), engine manufacturers [the European Association of Internal Combustion Engine Manufacturers (EUROMOT)],  Classification Societies [International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) and Lloyd's Register (LR], union organisations, International Health Organisation, oil companies [Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF); International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA), Internal Bunker Industry Association (IBIA)], and ship owners' representatives [INTERTANKO, INTERCARGO, BIMCO, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS)].


The Group will gather data related to the total commercial fleet, bunker consumption, type of fuel used and amounts (HFO, MDO/MGO), emissions (SOx, NOx, CO2) and will assess their health and environmental impacts. The Group will then consider the alternative measures to reduce emissions from ship and the impacts/repercussions of these on the shipping industry, petroleum industry and bunker deliverers. These will be related to the consequential impact on health and environmental protection and the results projected for a 10 to 15 year period of time.


The Group it is tasked with carrying out a data collection and statistical impact assessment of these alternative measures but will not draw any conclusions or make any recommendations on the efficiency of these alternatives.


The Group should have a final report ready by mid-December 2007. This report will be forwarded it to the IMO Sub-Committee on Bulk Liquid and Gases (BLG), which will carry out a final round of assessments in early February 2008. The BLG will then make its final recommendations to the MEPC session in March/April 2008, when a decision on how to amend MARPOL Annex VI will be taken.


Contact: Dragos Rauta