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Shipowners to EU on CO2 monitoring: “Yes, but …”

Written by Nick Blenkey

EU HQ flagsFEBRUARY 20, 2013 —  A position paper issued this month by ECSA (European Community Shipowners’ Associations) says it “can see value in” a EU initiative for a Monitoring, Reporting and Verification system (MRV) of CO2 emissions, as “a contribution” to finding the most appropriate global solution for monitoring of emissions from international shipping.

However, says the position paper, any mandatory requirements on MRV for the international shipping sector must be agreed upon at IMO level, as this is the only way of securing a globally harmonized system.

ECSA is prepared to play a constructive role in the up-coming discussions on the specifics of a MRV system for international shipping. However, once the purpose for and the methodology of collecting data have been clarified, it must be ensured that the realities and practicalities of the shipping industry are taken into account and that the system is workable both for the industry and for the authorities.

ECSA says that any MRV system must be accurate, simple, cost-effective and exclusively based on the vessels fuel consumption. ECSA believes that the Bunker Delivery Notes (BDN), already available onboard all ships and the entries in the oil record book, constitute the appropriate legal, certified and verifiable input to a MRV system. BDN and oil record book are mandatory according to the MARPOL convention and subject to verification during Flag State and Port State inspections. Furthermore, ECSA is of the opinion that the relevant authority for CO2 data collection should be the Flag State.

The acceptance in principle of an MRV mechanism does not imply acceptance by ECSA of MRV being used for the eventual development of any specific Market Based Measures, or the mandatory application of energy efficiency improvement measures or indexing for existing ships.

ECSA does not support the collection of operational and commercial sensitive information “as it would be irrelevant to a pure CO2 MRV system.”

The position paper says, “collection of fuel consumption data including ‘cargo carried’ and distance traveled is a very useful tool for internal purpose of individual shipping companies in order to improve the individual performance of their vessels. This contributes to the exemplary environmental performance of maritime transport towards future sustainable transport worldwide. Hence, ECSA believes that averaging operational and commercial figures from an individual ship as input in a plain MRV system will inevitably contain a large degree of incorrectness as the ship may deliberately adjust speed and cargo under constantly moving market conditions.”

ECSA calls on the European Commission to carry out an impact assessment study investigating the MRV process, as the current EU initiative only should have the intention of providing a constructive input to assist the IMO work in the same area.

ECSA, formed in 1965, comprises the national shipowners’ associations of the EU and Norway.

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