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ICOMIA releases IMO report on the Marine Environment Protection Committee’s 74th session

Published on: 30 May 2019


ICOMIA has released an IMO (International Maritime Organization) report following the 74th session of the Committee on Marine Environment Protection (MEPC), held recently from the 13 to 17 May 2019 at IMO in London, UK. The principle items of interest from this meeting are ICOMIA proposals (MEPC 74/5/15) for NOx Tier III solution not supported, concerns regarding cybutryne in anti-fouling coatings (AFS Convention), BWM exemptions discussed based on ship types, electronic record books for MARPOL, GHG (greenhouse gases) reductions and marine plastic litter.

ICOMIA proposals (MEPC 74/5/15) for NOx Tier III solution not supported

ICOMIA had proposed and lobbied for the under 500GT superyachts who currently enjoy an extension until 2021 on the IMO’s Tier III emission regulations. As it has become clearer that the technology is still not were industry would like it to be and with the operational profile of the yachts taken into consideration it can be seen that the environmental benefits of meeting Tier III will be very limited, ICOMIA on behalf of its members has been lobbying for one of two options to be taken at IMO level:

  • Option 1 – An additional 5-year delay
  • Option 2 - A new output requiring the sector to viably contribute to NOX reductions

Despite some high-profile supporters there was a slim majority against ICOMIA and for this reason the Committee concluded that there was insufficient support to take either option forward and as a result the existing extension will expire in 2021 as per the current MARPOL Annex VI requirement. Whilst this was a disappointing result, the matter is not completely closed and based on advice from the IMO secretariat, we are now exploring the possibility of achieving equivalent compliance as permitted under Regulation 4 of MARPOL Annex VI.

Concerns regarding cybutryne in anti-fouling coatings (AFS Convention)

Following the decision to prohibit the use of cybutryne in anti-fouling compounds at PPR 6 (see PPR 6 report), Japan submitted document MEPC 74/10/9 expressing its concerns about the availability of sealer coats in time for the ban and the negative effects of blasting. The paper proposed to amend the convention to remove the 2026 deadline for all vessels to either have any coating containing cybutryne removed from the hull or for such coatings to be effectively sealed. During the discussion of this item over 50 delegates took the floor, including a number of observers. The Chairman concluded that the consensus was that there was a need to discuss the matter further at PPR 7 and invited member states and other interested parties to submit information on the impact of the removal or sealing of coatings containing cybutryne.

BWM exemptions discussed based on ship types

Russia and Turkey submitted a number of papers on the question of exemption from the BWM Convention for certain ship types i.e. salvage vessels and rescue tugs. The Committee decided that it was not possible to exempt entire sectors from the requirements of the convention and pointed out that the convention allows for alternative means of compliance under Regulation B3.7. Nevertheless, it was agreed that there is a need for further guidance on the matter of compliance without the need for a ballast water management system and invited proposals to PPR 7.

GHG reductions

The Committee agreed to a number of terms of reference for the sixth and seventh intersessional working groups on greenhouse gases (ISWG – GHG), scheduled for 11 to 15 November this year and back to back with MEPC 75 respectively. The Committee adopted a resolution encouraging cooperation with ports to reduce emissions from shipping and also discussed short, medium and long-term reduction measures including proposals to strengthen implementation of the The Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) and speed reductions.

Electronic record books for MARPOL

The Committee approved amendments to MARPOL Annexes I and V regarding the use of electronic record books. Electronic oil record and garbage record books are permitted to be used when the amendments enter into force on 1 October 2020.

Marine plastic litter

Following up on the IMO Action Plan to address marine plastic litter from ships adopted at MEPC 73, a working group was established at this session to progress matters. A number of outcomes were agreed that can be found attached to the full report.

British Marine members can download the full report here.