Every MEPC meeting for the last 15 years has seen some official announcement of a step along the way to type approval for one or more system makers. MEPC 75 due to be held from 30 March to 3 April would have been no different with eight system due to announce their type approval to the new G8 guidelines.
This is an important step because after 28 October this year, only systems which have been approved to the new standards can be installed on ships. This will not make older systems already fitted obsolete but with almost four years left of the rollout programme for pre 2017-built ships, after 28 October the road has all but come to an end for any system maker without the new IMO type approval.
Around a dozen systems have already been withdrawn from the market some because they have been replaced by a new generation and others because the system maker has decided that the promised bandwagon turned out to be anything but.
There is no requirement for type-approval to be announced at MEPC before it can be installed. Providing the flag state is happy to consider a system type-approved that is sufficient. Once approved by one, systems are usually acceptable to other states but any operator planning an installation should check before signing a contract.
IMO type approval has no status for ships calling to the US which need to have a system that meets the US type-approval process. There are now almost 30 systems that can claim that distinction with more awaiting approval having completed all testing and submitted their applications.
The systems approved for use in US waters are not all permitted on US-flagged ships because of Jones Act rules but there are enough that satisfy that restriction. The capacities and technologies of the US approved systems means that the US authorities will take some persuading that there is not a system available suited to a particular ship.