GL examines MEPC 62 outcome

31 Aug 2011

Germanischer Lloyd has held its traditional recap of the latest session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of IMO, focusing on the “groundbreaking developments” at the 62nd session.

The forum was held on 25 August at GL’s head office in Hamburg. More than 100 representatives from the maritime industry, shipping companies, ship management agencies, shipyards, maritime journalists and stakeholders met to consider the new measures, hear presentations from GL and industry experts, and discuss the likely impact of what GL describes as “this sea change for the industry.”

According to GL. the subject of CO2 dominates the future of many industries today: whether it be the shipping, automotive, aviation, or power generation industries the questions of how to account for, reduce, produce, capture and minimise the impact of CO2 generated by that industry is seldom left out of the discussion. MEPC 62 was notable for several reasons, the use of a vote to approve the measures rather than by consensus and the establishment of a North American emissions control area for example. However it was the adoption of the energy efficiency design index (EEDI) and the ship energy efficiency management plan (SEEMP) that marked the session as being of historical significance. Adopted as amendments to Annex VI of the MARPOL regulations these measures, when they enter into effect, says GL, will represent the first global mandatory carbon dioxide reductions implemented by any industry.

Although the adoption of the measures and the manner in which it took place was a surprise, it was also not entirely unexpected. GL says it has been preparing clients for the introduction of both the EEDI and the SEEMP for several years. Torsten Mundt, GL’s head of group environmental services, strategic research and development looked at the adoption of the EEDI, giving the forum attendees some background on the formula and the way in which it will be implemented over time. New vessels of several types will be required to meet a reference line for energy efficiency he showed, with step wise reductions in the reference line to be reviewed and implemented in the future. Mundt also looked at the market based measure (MBM) for reducing emissions from the Bahamanian Flag State, which the MEPC invited the authority to further develop.

Jörn Springer, head of department operations, looked at the SEEMP; the operational measure to increase fuel efficiency, which will apply to all vessels both newbuild and in operation, from the entry into force of the amendments. Springer highlighted some of the benefits of putting into practice the new system, as part of a management structure built around systematic approach of continual improvement and measurement of gains. He pointed to a recent FutureShip project, which through the analysis of two sister vessels and the implementation of an efficiency plan had resulted in a 9% and 16% reduction in fuel consumption for the vessels.

BIMCO’s Lars Robert Pedersen, deputy secretary general, gave his own take on the EEDI and SEEMP from a shipowner’s perspective. Looking at the challenges that would have to be met, especially by ship designers, to ensure that the EEDI fulfilled its promise of making a positive change in the industry, he examined some of the parts of the formula where the potential future impact of the regulations on shipbuilding were unclear. The measures had come at a critical time he noted, and due to their nature and implementation as currently formulated were important in maintaining the level playing field in the maritime industry.

By way of a comparison, GL had invited Stefan Mast from Lufthansa to address the forum audience on the airline industry’s approach to reducing CO2 emissions, and in particular a new EU emissions trading scheme for all flights originating from or touching down in Europe. Mast laid out the complexities of the system, which is built in part around an auction scheme for emission credits. The scheme places a heavy burden on the participating airlines in terms of monitoring, reporting and verification of emissions, he said, while being further complicated by the interactions between the many overlapping regional and national authorities that are dealing with the scheme. Such a market based scheme impacted upon every area of a business and required an intensive investment in restructuring existing procedures to participate, Mast explained to the audience.

CO2 was not the only emission that was targeted for reduction under the new adoptions; the introduction of a North American ECA will impact upon Nox, Sox, and particulate matter. Dr Fabian Kock, head of GL’s department combustion engines environmental, looked at the NOx/SOx related parts of the 62nd session, examining the certification of engines with SCR, approved methods for the reduction of NOx emissions and the new emissions control area. The range of issues covered at MEPC 62 stretch from the EEDI, impacting on the design of newbuild ships, to the eventual decommissioning and recycling of vessels no longer in service. Gerhard Aulbert, GL global practice ship recycling, examined the changes MEPC 62 brought to ship recycling legislation, including changes within the inventory of hazardous materials (IHM) guideline and the adoption of the ship recycling plan guideline.

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