MEPC 69th session

Malcolm Latarche
Malcolm Latarche

26 April 2016


On the controversial subject of emission reductions and in particular emissions of CO2, a concerted effort by some delegates and shipping bodies to bring regulation under the auspices of the IMO was defeated. Those on the losing side of the arguments blamed the position taken by a number of countries especially those included in the BRICS acronym. In Paris last year COP21 ended with an agreement under which all nations committed themselves to take action to reduce emissions in the future but decided that international transport should not be treated as a separate entity with a target of its own. It could be argued that the attempts by national delegations at MEPC 69 to push for shipping to set itself targets would actually have been against the spirit of the COP21 agreement. In addition, the reduction in emissions that will be required for new ships under EEDI is actually higher than the targets set by some countries under COP21. The meeting did however agree to requirements for recording consumption data with the draft wording likely to be put forward for adoption at MEPC 70 in October for entry into force in 2018. The requirement would apply only to ships of 5,000gt and above. Under it ships would report consumption data to flag states who in turn would submit aggregated returns to the IMO on an annual basis. A correspondence group has been established to develop methodologies for collecting data and guidelines for flag states on verification procedures. A long running item on developing a new form for the garbage record book appears to be reaching a conclusion with agreement reached on amendments. The revised form will be submitted to MEPC 70 for adoption with a likely entry into force of 2018/19. On a related subject a new category of waste – e-waste – has been proposed and will be further discussed at a future meeting. Among other matters debated at MEPC 69, questions relating to amendments and reviews to EEDI requirements that are required under MARPOL were discussed but work is to continue with submissions to future meetings. New dates were set for the enforcement of the Baltic Sea as a special area under Marpol Annex IV that would prevent discharge of sewage other than to shore reception facilities. The requirements will apply to new passenger ships from 1 June 2019 and for existing passenger ships from 1 June 2021 or 1 June 2023 depending upon destination. Other inadequacies in port reception facilities were debated and a new manual on port reception facilities approved.