Shipowners to EU: Don't preempt IMO on CO2

ECSA Secretary General Patrick Verhoeven ECSA Secretary General Patrick Verhoeven

OCTOBER 16, 2014 — European shipowners are urging EU regulators not to go ahead with a unilateral EU Regulation for Monitoring, Reporting and Verification system of carbon dioxide emissions from maritime transport (EU MRV Regulation), which could potentially include shipowners to disclose commercial and operational information.

The Italian Presidency of the European Council has been pressing for EU institutions to reach an early agreement on the MRV regulation.

"The stated goal of EU regulators has until now been to make the MRV the first step towards a global solution on CO2 emissions from shipping and I believe it is important to avoid any boomerang effect resulting from unilateral EU action," says Patrick Verhoeven, Secretary General of te European Community Shipowners Association (ECSA). He says legislators should take into account ongoing IMO deliberations and anticipate the reaction of non-European IMO Parties.

"Failing to do so could present other IMO Member States with a de facto situation that might ultimately hamper a swift agreement at IMO level," adds Mr. Verhoeven

In 2013, the European Commission put forward the MRV proposal with the intention of paving the way for an international solution. IMO has in parallel been making progress towards establishing a global monitoring system. Currently, though, the work on the EU instrument is proceeding at a faster pace than the work of the IMO, and, says ECSA, "therein lies the risk."

The EU instrument should be as simple and straightforward as possible, says ECSA, so as to be easily adaptable at a later stage to incorporate the outcome of the IMO process. Moreover, the simpler the EU tool remains, the more it will facilitate international negotiations instead of pre-empting them.

It should also be noted that the Commission's proposal indicates 2018 as the starting year for the monitoring exercise, giving ample time to the IMO to decide which global measures are the most environmentally effective and economically sound. European shipowners are therefore skeptical as to the urgency of an agreement at EU level when it would not only be possible but also more prudent to await the results of the IMO deliberations.

"We hope that EU decision-makers will stay on the right course and avoid making any decisions that might hinder the ongoing progress at international level," concluded Mr Verhoeven.

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