Four-day MEPC 73 begins in London today

The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), 73rd session, chaired by Hideaki Saito (Japan), begins today, October 22nd, at IMO Headquarters in London, UK, running through to October 26th

Key agenda items include:

Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships

The MEPC is expected to develop and agree a programme of actions to implement the initial IMO strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships, which was adopted in April 2018. An Intersessional Working Group, which met last week, is expected to initiate this work and will report to the Committee.

Further work on energy efficiency of ships

The MEPC will receive a report on progress by the correspondence group on review of the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) “beyond phase 2”. The group has submitted an interim report to MEPC 73. with a final report due to be submitted to MEPC 74 (Spring 2019).

Implementation of sulphur 2020 limit

MEPC 73 is expected to approve ship-implementation planning guidance as well as best practice guides for Member States/coastal States and for fuel oil suppliers.

Marine plastic litter

The MEPC will consider a number of proposals to address the issue of marine plastic litter from shipping, in the context of 2030 Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG 14) on the oceans.

Ballast water management treaty implementation

MEPC 73 is expected to approve Guidance on System Design Limitations of ballast water management systems and their monitoring, and to consider draft Guidance on validation of the compliance of individual BWMS with regulation D-2 of the BWM Convention in conjunction with their commissioning. The inclusion of contingency measures in the ballast water management plan will also be considered.

MEPC 73 will also consider proposals for approval of ballast water management systems that make use of Active Substances.

Use and carriage of heavy fuel oil as fuel by ships in Arctic waters

IMO has agreed that its Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR) should develop a ban on heavy fuel oil for use and carriage as fuel by ships in Arctic waters, based on an assessment of the impacts of such a ban. MEPC 73 will consider, with a view to approval, an appropriate impact assessment methodology process.

High-viscosity substances  – draft MARPOL amendments

The MEPC is expected to consider approving, for future adoption, draft amendments to MARPOL Annex II to strengthen, in specified sea areas, discharge requirements for tank washings containing persistent floating products with a high-viscosity and/or a high melting point that can solidify under certain conditions.