No surprises from IMO MEPC 74 session

Written by Nick Blenkey
image description

When IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 74) met in London last week, protesters from Extinction Rebellion symbolically rearranged deck chairs outside IMO HQ while playing Titanic themed music. Apparently that did little to spur the effortss of MEPC delegates, for nothing radical or new —such as mandatory speed limits — emerged from the session,

Still, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) – which represents the world’s national shipowner associations – says that it “remains confident” that shipping will improve its carbon efficiency by at least 40% by 2030 compared to 2008, in line with IMO GHG emission reduction targets to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This follows decisions made by the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 74), which met in London this week.

“We welcome the adoption of important new IMO regulations to strengthen and bring forward the application of the Energy Efficiency Design Index for several different types of new build vessel, including containerships,” said ICS Secretary General, Guy Platten. “We are keen to see further progress on developing more short term measures to help the existing fleet reduce its emissions, and are optimistic that IMO Member States can agree some additional regulations, during 2020, combining prescriptive and goal based approaches that will deliver further GHG reductions before 2023.”

“If this solid IMO momentum continues then the industry is on track to meet the 2030 target,” Platten added. “Progress by the industry so far will be clearer after the conduct of the next IMO Greenhouse Gas Study … Hopefully this will confirm that the sector’s total emissions actually peaked in 2008 due to the technical and operational efficiency measures that shipping has taken since then to reduce its fuel consumption.”

LOW HANGING FRUIT

Platten said that, following agreement on procedures to assess the impacts of proposed GHG reduction measures on the economies of IMO member states, “there is no reason why IMO should not be able to quickly agree on low hanging fruit such as speed optimization measures. We believe that these can best be addressed in part through the ‘Super SEEMP’, as proposed by ICS and other shipowner associations – the mandatory external audit of Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plans as part of the ISM Code. This will require shipping companies to demonstrate they have done everything possible to improve fuel efficiency in pursuit of the 2030 target.”

He continued “There does appear to be widespread support among many Member States for these proposals, as there also was for constructive proposals from Japan to help existing ships deliver further technical efficiencies which have much in common with the industry’s approach.”

Platten noted that “it was clear that the majority of IMO Member States, including major economies such as China, India, the United States and many South American nations, had little appetite at present for initiatives such as mandatory speed limits, expressing concern that these would reduce the efficiency of maritime transport, in effect increasing the distance between economies and their markets, while acting as a disincentive to the take-up of new CO2 reduction technologies.”

“While short term measures are important,” said Platten. “ICS continues to assert that IMO needs to move quickly onto considering the critical long term measures that will help the industry to deliver the very ambitious target of a 50% total cut of GHG emissions by 2050 regardless of trade growth. This can only realistically be achieved with the introduction of commercially viable zero – or near zero – CO2 emitting propulsion systems, which means that accelerated research and development programs have to be at the center of the IMO strategy.”

2020 GLOBAL SULFUR CAP

ICS also welcomed the additional guidance agreed by the IMO MEPC to assist smooth implementation of the global sulphur cap on January 1, 2020, the requirement for ships outside sulphur emission control areas to use fuel with a sulphur content of 0.5% or less.

ICS will be using these latest IMO guidelines to update its “Guidance on Compliance with the 2020 Global Sulfur Cap.”

ABS has prepared a detailed summary of decisions made at MEPC 74 that can be downloaded HERE

Categories: Environment, News Tags: , ,