IMO Environment Committee Advances Work on Shipping Emissions
UN Photo/Kibae Park
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IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee continued work on its Roadmap towards the development of an IMO strategy to reduce emissions from ships.

The Committee adopted guidelines to implement mandatory energy efficiency measures for ships.

The Committee also agreed to an implementation schedule for ships to comply with the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention.

7 July 2017: The 71st session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MPEC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) agreed on a draft outline for a strategy to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ships, and adopted guidelines to implement operational energy efficiency measures for ships.

The draft outline for an IMO strategy on the reduction of GHG emissions from ships includes sections on: levels of ambition; guiding principles; a list of candidate short-, mid- and long-term further measures with possible timelines and their impacts on States; barriers and supportive measures, capacity building and technical cooperation, and research and development; follow-up actions towards the development of the revised strategy; and periodic review.

On energy efficiency measures for existing ships, the Committee adopted 2017 guidelines for administration and verification of ship fuel oil consumption data.

The draft outline was prepared by the first meeting of the Intersessional Working Group on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships (ISWG 1), held in June 2017, which also launched the Global Industry Alliance to support Low Carbon Shipping. The Committee also approved the terms of reference for ISWG 2 and 3, instructing the Group to finalize the draft strategy and submit it for MPEC 72 consideration.

On energy efficiency measures for existing ships, which became mandatory under MARPOL Annex VI (Prevention of air pollution from ships) in 2013, the Committee, inter alia: adopted 2017 guidelines for administration and verification of ship fuel oil consumption data and for the development and management of the IMO Ship Fuel Oil Consumption Database; and established a correspondence group to review the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI). According to IMO, this work is helping the Organization to fulfil its mandate to protect oceans and human health and to mitigate climate change, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 13 (climate change).

The Committee also agreed to: an implementation schedule for ships to comply with the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention (BWM); the scope of work on the implementation of the global sulfur limit to be carried out by the Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response; and work on measures to reduce risks of the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil as fuel by ships in Arctic Waters.

Other outputs approved by the Committee include the draft Code for the transport and handling of hazardous and noxious liquid substances in bulk on offshore support vessels (OSV Chemical Code), Model Courses on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Cooperation, and the designation of Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (Indonesia) as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA). This work will help advance SDG 14 (life below water).

The 71st session of the MPEC was held 3-7 July 2017 at IMO headquarters in London, UK. [IMO Press Release] [MPEC Meeting Summaries Page] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on ISWG 1]

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