MEPC 67th session opens

15 Oct 2014
IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu addressed delegates at the opening of MEPC 67

IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu addressed delegates at the opening of MEPC 67

The 67th Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 67) session, which began yesterday, is set to be a busy five-day hearing, with a total of 145 documents submitted under 20 items on the agenda.

IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu addressed delegates at the opening of MEPC 67 first commenting on the regulatory work of the organisation so far, “in tandem with capacity-building efforts, to mitigate the threats to the world’s seas and oceans”. He also touched on some of the challenges the organisation is facing as they relate to the Global Ocean Committee’s report From Decline to Recovery: A Rescue Package for the Global Ocean, and its recommendations on sustainable use of the global oceans, “which I regard also very important for the future sustainability of international shipping”, he said.

The major topic on the agenda of the 67th session is that of the Ballast Water Management Convention. Since MEPC 66, five additional States – Japan, Jordan, Tonga, Turkey and the Republic of Congo – have become Contracting Parties. The total number of ratifications now stands at 43 countries, representing around 32.54% of world merchant shipping tonnage. Thirty-five percent of global tonnage will trigger the Convention into force.

Mr Sekimizu said these latest accessions are an important milestone, bringing the Convention significantly closer to entering into force.

The new sub-committee on implementation of IMO instruments finalised its work on the draft Guidelines for Port State control under the 2004 BWM Convention. Mr Sekimizu said: “I therefore urge the Committee to resolve the outstanding issue of sampling and indicative analysis of ballast water and to adopt these long-awaited Guidelines at this session”.

The five-day 67th session will also look at the draft International Code for ships operating in polar waters (Polar Code), the ratification of the Hong Kong Convention for safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships, and addressed industry concerns over the type approval of BWM systems.

“I wish the Committee every success in its deliberations during the next five days and the very best of luck to its able chairman and vice chairman,” Mr Sekimizu concluded.

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