Wednesday, April 27, 2016

IMO Mandates Fuel Use Recording in All Merchant Ships Over 5000 Gross Tonnes

As Scramble to Apply SOLAS VGM Regulations Continue Environmental Data Collection Introduced
Shipping News Feature
WORLDWIDE – In an effort to send a clear and positive signal of its continuing commitment to climate change mitigation, the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has approved mandatory requirements for ships to record and report their fuel consumption, with the intention to apply the requirement to all container, bulk carriers, tankers and similar vessels as early as 2018. Given the fuss made by some over the new VGM regulations, we may yet be in for more wails of anguish and wringing of hands from some quarters.

The mandatory data collection system is intended to be the first in a three-step process in which analysis of the data collected would provide the basis for an objective, transparent and inclusive policy debate in the MEPC. This should allow a decision to be made on whether any further measures are needed to enhance energy efficiency and address greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping. If so, proposed policy options would then be considered.

Under the system, ships of 5,000 gross tonnage and above will be required to collect consumption data for each type of fuel they use, as well as other, additional, specified data including proxies for transport work. The aggregated data will be reported to the flag State after the end of each calendar year and the flag State, having determined that the data has been reported in accordance with the requirements, will issue a Statement of Compliance to the ship. Flag States will be required to subsequently transfer this data to the IMO Ship Fuel Consumption Database.

The IMO would be required to produce an annual report to the MEPC, summarising the data collected. Data would be anonymised so individual ship data would not be recognised. The data collection system is enshrined in draft amendments to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), which were approved by the 69th session of the MEPC, meeting at IMO Headquarters in London last week.

The draft mandatory data collection requirements will be put forward for adoption at the 70th MEPC session in October this year and could enter into force in 2018. IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim hailed the approval of the data collection amendments as a significant contribution to the ongoing work by the international community to mitigate climate change, and welcomed the positive spirit in which Member states had approached the discussion, saying:

“It has been very encouraging to see States which had previously found it difficult to reach binding agreement on climate change measures bring the spirit of the Paris Agreement to IMO this week. The unanimous agreement to take forward a mandatory data collection system for ships’ fuel consumption is a significant step. It will provide a solid basis on which to consider, armed with information, whether further measures may be required in future to mitigate GHG emissions from shipping.

“I would like to commend the Member States of IMO for once again showing their willingness to work collaboratively for the greater good. On World Earth Day, and the day the Paris Agreement is being signed by world leaders in New York, we are pleased to announce another of IMO's continuing efforts to protect the world's oceans and climate.”

The Paris Agreement was adopted by all 196 Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at COP21 in Paris in December 2015. In the agreement, all countries agreed to work to limit global temperature rise to well below 2oC, and given the grave risks, to strive for 1.5oC.

The IMO says that it is the only organisation to date to have adopted energy-efficiency measures that are legally binding across an entire global industry. Mandatory energy efficiency standards for new ships, and mandatory operational measures to reduce emissions from existing ships, entered into force in 2013, as amendments to MARPOL Annex VI. Thanks to those new measures, by 2025 all new ships built will be 30% more energy efficient than those built in 2013. Lim continued:

“The work in the MEPC this week shows IMO’s strong commitment, as the global regulator of the shipping industry, to continue its work to address GHG emissions from ships engaged in international trade. IMO has a major role to play in ensuring that the positive momentum towards climate change mitigation is translated into tangible and lasting improvements in people’s lives.”

Meanwhile researchers at UCL Energy Institute together with data visualisation and digital journalism studio Kiln have developed, what can only be described as, a stunning interactive map, plotting 250 million data points to show the movements of the world’s commercial shipping fleet over the course of 2012. Using the methodology that the UCL Energy Institute developed for the Third IMO Greenhouse Gas Study 2014 and AIS data to estimate emissions from five different ship types; container ships, tankers, dry bulk, gas bulk, and vehicles carriers.

UCL-Energy researchers took AIS data showing location and speed of ships and cross-checked it with another database on vessel characteristics, such as engine type and hull measurements. Using this information, they were able to compute the CO2 emissions for each observed hour, following the approach laid out in the Third IMO Greenhouse Gas Study 2014. Kiln took the resulting dataset and visualised it with WebGL on top of a specially created base map, which shows bathymetry (ocean depth) as well as continents and major rivers.

For each ship type as well as for the entire global fleet, the map displays the freight carried and CO 2emitted by the ships. Emissions from international shipping for 2012 were estimated to be 796 million tonnes CO 2which is more than the whole of the UK, Canada or Brazil emit in a year. This number can be further broken down into 2.18 million tonnes CO2 per day or 90,868 tonnes CO2 per hour.

Photo: Courtesy Kiln and (inset) the Funnel Exchange.