IMO's MEPC to set GHG reduction roadmap

OCTOBER 29, 2016 — IMO says that an important milestone on the road to controlling greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping was achieved by requirements adopted at last week's meeting of its Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) in London.

Under the new requirements, ships of 5,000 gross tonnage and above will have to collect consumption data for each type of fuel they use, as well as other, additional, specified data. These ships account for approximately 85% of CO2 emissions from international shipping.

The new mandatory data collection system is the first step in a three-step approach in which analysis of the data collected would provide the basis for an objective, transparent and inclusive policy debate in the MEPC.

The MEPC also approved a roadmap (2017 through to 2023) for developing a "Comprehensive IMO strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships" that foresees adoption of an initial GHG strategy in 2018.

It contains a list of activities, including further IMO GHG studies, with relevant timelines and provides for alignment of those new activities with the ongoing work by the MEPC on the three-step approach to ship energy efficiency improvements mentioned above. This alignment provides a way forward to the adoption of a revised strategy in 2023 to include short-, mid-, and long-term further measures.

Under the roadmap, and to provide long-term vision for the shipping sector, the MEPC has to address a number of important questions, such as what role should the international shipping sector have in supporting the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The Committee also agreed to hold an intersessional working group meeting on reduction of GHG emissions from ships. It is planned that the first intersessional meeting (subject to approval by the IMO Council) would be held back-to-back with MEPC 71, which is scheduled to meet in mid-2017.

The MEPC adopted the mandatory requirements as amendments to chapter 4 of annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). They are expected to enter into force on March 1, 2018, under the tacit acceptance procedure. They add new Regulation 22A on Collection and reporting of ship fuel consumption data and new appendices covering Information to be submitted to the IMO Ship Fuel Consumption Database and form of the Statement of Compliance, which would be issued to the ship once the relevant data had been reported. Other regulations are amended to cater for the new requirement, including those related to certificates, surveys and port State control.

"IMO will inform the next Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is to meet in Marrakech, Morocco, next month, on the tangible progress made, proving to the world that IMO continues to lead in delivering on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping,"
said IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim. "The data collection system will equip IMO with concrete data to help it make the right decisions, as well as enhancing its credentials as the best placed and competent forum for regulating international shipping."

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