Head of Marine Environment
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A number of guidelines are up for adoption at the 78th session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) at the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) headquarters in London. BIMCO will be attending the meetings taking place 6 – 10 June 2022.
Some of the guidelines that will be put forward for adoption are guidelines relating to the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP), Carbon Intensity Index (CII) and Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI). The guidelines will include the in-service performance measurement method for establishing the ship’s speed (Vref) as proposed by BIMCO in cooperation with RINA and Japan.
The 12th session of the Intersessional Working Group on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships (ISWG-GHG 12) held in May this year concluded that any CII correction factors, and voyage adjustments not agreed by the correspondence group, would need to be considered as part of the review of the CII regulations. The regulations will be completed by 1 January 2026.
The MEPC has also been asked to establish a correspondence group tasked with developing Lifecycle Assessment (LCA) guidelines for marine fuels, covering both Well-to-Tank and Tank-to-Wake GHG emissions as well as sustainability criteria for the use of bio feedstocks.
Furthermore, the MEPC will initiate the revision of the initial GHG strategy at this session. It is expected that the latest report from the Working Group III (part of the 6th Assessment Report) of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will have an impact on the discussions at the IMO due to the conclusion that IMO’s initial GHG strategy falls short of what is required to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.
In connection with the revision of the GHG strategy, the MEPC will also address equitable transition in relation to Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) and Less Developed Countries (LDCs).
Mid- and long-term measures, such as a GHG fuel standard and a possible Market-Based Measure (MBM), will not be discussed at the MEPC 78 since they were discussed during the May meeting of the ISWG-GHG 12.
Another set of guidelines up for adoption are guidelines for countries to carry out risk and impact assessments of the discharge water from scrubbers. They cover both closed-loop scrubbers that discharge bleed-off water, and open-loop scrubbers that discharge wash water.
Bleed-off water from closed-loop scrubbers will typically contain higher concentrations of metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and nutrients compared to wash water from open-loop scrubbers, while the volume of bleed-off water discharged is limited compared to the amounts of wash water. The guidelines will also cover the delivery of scrubber residues and discharge water to port reception facilities.
Other topics which will be discussed at the MEPC include:
Protection of the Mediterranean Sea
The littoral states propose to designate the Mediterranean Sea as a Particularly Sensitive Sea area (PSSA). The proposal aims to introduce an ECA so that ships sailing in the Mediterranean will only be allowed to use fuel with a sulphur content of 0.10 % or less. The so-called "Med SOX ECA” will take effect from 1 January 2025 and the proposal is expected to cost around $1.761 billion per year based on the present bunker prices. This figure will change when alternative fuels are introduced in accordance with IMO’s vision to decarbonise shipping.
Ballast water management
The MEPC will discuss several papers on ballast water dealing with the Experience building phase (EBP), Ballast water record book (BWRB) and the issue of Ports with challenged water quality (PWCQ). On the EBP, the IMO has received considerable amount of data. The MEPC 78 will agree on a plan for analysing this data and a way forward on the reviewing the Ballast water management convention.
Discussions surrounding biofuels will also commence at the MEPC 78. India has proposed to develop a guideline for the use of biofuel from crops and waste biomass. France, Canada and India have provided case studies on various emissions (NOX, SOX and Black Carbon) from engines burning biofuels.