October 1, 2010
MEPC considers U.S. Caribbean ECA
A proposal for a U.S. Caribbean Emission Control Area is among the items that was on the agenda for the September 27 to October 1, 2010 meeting of IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC).
Currently, there are two designated ECAs under Annex VI, the Baltic Sea area and the North Sea area, and a third area, the North American ECA, was adopted in March 2010, with expected entry into force in August 2011.
The area of the proposed U.S. Caribbean ECA includes waters adjacent to coasts of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The northern and southern boundaries of the proposed area would extend roughly 50 nautical miles (nm) and 40 nm, respectively, from the territorial sea baseline of the main island of Puerto Rico. The western edge of the proposed area would generally run north-south, about half way between the Puerto Rican island of Mona and the west coast of the main island. The eastern edge of the proposed area would generally run north-south, but extend eastward through the area between the U.S. Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands and also eastward through the area between Saint Croix and Anguilla and Saint Kitts. The proposed ECA is bounded such that it does not extend into marine areas subject to the sovereignty, sovereign rights, or jurisdiction of any state other than the United States.
The proposed new ECA is just one part of a packed MEPC agenda.
The MEPC was set to consider the approval of technical and operational measures to reduce CO2 emissions from international shipping -- specifically, the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP)--as mandatory measures, possibly as amendments to MARPOL Annex VI Regulations for the prevention of air pollution from ships.
The Committee was also to discuss what an IMO hand-out describes as "further work concerning market-based measures, including the possible development of a mandatory IMO instrument."
In the past, the so-called "market-based mechanisms" that have been kicked around have been either. a global fuel levy or an emission trading scheme for ships, with the idea that these could generate funds that could be used for purposes such as the adaptation and transfer of GHG-reduction technology.
MEPC was also set to consider the issue of a GHG reduction target and whether the international maritime sector should be subject to an explicit emission ceiling (cap) comprising the entire world fleet of merchant vessels.