BIMCO submits slow steaming proposal to IMO

Malcolm Latarche

Malcolm Latarche · 01 October 2019


Copenhagen-based shipping body BIMCO has submitted a proposal to the IMO to regulate propulsion power of ships in order to sustain the GHG savings already achieved through slower steaming.

In a statement issued this week, BIMCO said, “While it remains a fact that ships’ speed is the single most important variable influencing their CO2 emissions, there are different views as to which regulatory measure is best when it comes to enforcement and achieving the objective of curbing emissions”.

Imo sec

Measuring a ship’s speed is not an accurate exercise, therefore, other avenues have been investigated. It has been concluded that limiting ships’ propulsion power can be controlled accurately and at the same time, it has a close correlation to speed.

“While it is imperative to ensure the GHG emissions savings through slower steaming are sustained, it is also important that owners are incentivised to innovate,” said Lars Robert Pedersen, BIMCO Deputy Secretary General.

Setting a limit for ships’ power has already been suggested by Japan. BIMCO recommends the power limit should be derived for each shipping sector from an assumed performance of an average ship sailing at current average trading speed within each sector. The proposal will be introduced at the Intersessional meeting of the working group on reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships at the IMO in London on 11-15 October.

The proposed concept would have the benefit of capturing the emissions reductions already achieved since 2008 by slower steaming whilst maintaining the present competitive playing field between ships. It would similarly maintain the benefit of operating ever more efficient ships should owners opt for modifications to improve efficiency of their ships.

The regulatory scheme would be consistent with the principle of the EEDI regulation as well as the MARPOL Annex VI requirement for minimum safe power in adverse weather conditions – both of which primarily regulate a ship’s power to the propeller. It also resonates with proposals for applying a quasi EEDI for existing ships (EEXI by Japan in ISWG-GHG 5/4/1) and would utilise the power limitation feature recently elaborated by Germany, Norway and Spain (MEPC 73/5/1).

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