At its meeting in London last week, IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) adopted mandatory measures to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from ships. The measures were adopted by a majority, rather than by a consensus.
The MEPC adopted amendments to MARPOL Annex VI Regulations for the prevention of air pollution from ships that included adding a new chapter 4 that makes 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 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.
The SEEMP establishes a mechanism for operators to improve the energy efficiency of ships.
The regulations apply to all ships of 400 gross tonnage and above and are expected to enter into force on January 1, 2013.
However, an administration may waive the requirement for new ships of 400 gross tonnage and above from complying with the EEDI requirements. "This waiver," says an IMO press release, "may not be applied to ships above 400 gross tonnage for which the building contract is placed four years after the entry into force date of chapter 4; the keel of which is laid or which is at a similar stage of construction four years and six months after the entry into force; the delivery of which is after six years and six months after the entry into force; or in cases of the major conversion of a new or existing ship, four years after the entry into force date."
The MEPC 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 said: "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 join in, so that the service to the environment the measures aim at will be complete."
July 18, 2011