Saturday, July 16, 2011

Mandatory Emission Regulations For Ocean Freight And Passenger Vessels Agreed

Major Part of IMO Marine Environment Protection Plans Implemented
Shipping News Feature

UK – WORLDWIDE – As reported in our earlier piece, the 62nd session of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), had a very full agenda to debate this past week and details have now been released regarding new mandatory requirements incumbent on ship designers and builders aimed at the reduction of greenhouse gases (GHG’s) from international shipping. All types of vessel whether general freight or container carriers, bulk tankers or passenger liners are affected if they exceed 400 gross tonnes.

The amendments to MARPOL Annex VI Regulations for the prevention of air pollution from ships, add a new chapter 4 to Annex VI on Regulations on energy efficiency for ships to make mandatory the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI), for new ships, and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) for all ships. Other amendments to Annex VI add new definitions and the requirements for survey and certification, including the format for the International Energy Efficiency Certificate.

The good news for ship builders of all nations is the amount of freedom they will have to utilise any technologies to achieve the end result required. The EEDI is a non-prescriptive, performance-based mechanism that leaves the choice of technologies to use in a specific ship design to the industry. As long as the required energy-efficiency level is attained, ship designers and builders would be free to use the most cost-efficient solutions for the ship to comply with the regulations.

For lesser developed nations there is written into the relevant chapter the right to receive technical co-operation and transfer of technology relating to the improvement of energy efficiency of ships should they request it. This regulation to promote such cooperation requires the relevant Administrations, in co-operation with IMO and other international bodies, to promote and provide, as appropriate, support directly or through IMO to States, especially developing States, of any assistance in improving the design and environmental performance of vessels subject to the relevant national laws, regulations and policies.

The new design and build regulations are expected to enter into force on 1st January 2013 although the Administration retains the right to waive the requirement to conform to the EEDI requirements should it see fit. Such right to waive is suspended after a suitable period (around four years from the implementation of the regulation dependant on precise build schedule) meaning that within the next few years ALL vessels exceeding 400 tonnes will need to comply with the regulations.

The MEPC also agreed a work plan to continue the work on energy efficiency measures for ships, to include the development of the EEDI framework for ship types and sizes, and propulsion systems, not covered by the current EEDI requirements and the development of EEDI and SEEMP-related guidelines. Commenting at the close of the session, on the outcome of MEPC, IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos expressed satisfaction at the many and various significant achievements with which the session should be credited saying:

“Although not by consensus, which of course would be the ideal outcome, the Committee has now adopted amendments to MARPOL Annex VI introducing mandatory technical and operational measures for the energy efficiency of ships. Let us hope that the work to follow on these issues will enable all Members to build the consensus that evaded the Committee this time.”

Photo: The MEPC meeting in London which closed 15th July 2011