MEPC pushes forward on shipping emissions reduction

The 74th session of the IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee covered a wide range of topics. The 74th session of the IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee covered a wide range of topics.

The IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) delivered a number of measures to support the IMO strategy on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from ships at the MEPC 74 session that met last week.

The MEPC 74 session (13-17 May) approved amendments to strengthen existing mandatory requirements for new ships to be more energy efficient; initiated the Fourth IMO GHG Study; adopted a resolution encouraging cooperation with ports to reduce emission from shipping; approved a procedure for the impact assessment of new measures proposed; agreed to establish a multi-donor trust fund for GHG; and agreed terms of reference for the sixth and seventh intersessional working groups to be held in November 2019 and in March 2020 respectively in order to expedite the work.

Also discussed were possible candidate short-term, mid- and long-term measures aiming at reducing GHG emissions from ships, to be further considered at next sessions.

EEDI Phase 3 requirements

The MEPC approved, for adoption at the next session in April 2020, amendments to MARPOL Annex VI to significantly strengthen the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) "phase 3" requirements.

The draft amendments will bring forward the entry into effect of phase 3 to 2022, from 2025, for several ship types, including gas carriers, general cargo ships and LNG carriers. This means that new ships built from that date must be significantly more energy efficient than the baseline.

* For container ships, the EEDI reduction rate is enhanced, significantly for larger ship sizes, as follows:

* For a containership of 200,000 DWT and above, the EEDI reduction rate is set at 50% from 2022

* For a containership of 120,000 DWT and above but less than 200,000 DWT, 45% from 2022

* For a containership of 80,000 DWT and above but less than 120,000 DWT, 40% from 2022

* For a containership of 40,000 DWT and above but less than 80,000 DWT, 35% from 2022

* For a containership of 15,000 DWT and above but less than 40,000 DWT, 30% from 2022

The MEPC also agreed terms of reference for a correspondence group to look into the introduction of a possible "phase 4" of EEDI requirements.

A new section 3 for mandatory reporting of EEDI values and related information was drafted, but final approval was deferred until MEPC 75. A number of other areas related to EEDI, including developing an EEDI calculation method for vessels with non-conventional propulsion, as well as addressing the technical impact of EEDI on ship machinery design, were deferred to MEPC 75.

Cooperation with ports to reduce emissions from shipping

MEPC adopted resolution MEPC.323(74) on Invitation to Member States to encourage voluntary cooperation between the port and shipping sectors to contribute to reducing GHG emissions from ships.

This could include regulatory, technical, operational and economic actions, such as the provision of: Onshore Power Supply (preferably from renewable sources); safe and efficient bunkering of alternative low-carbon and zero-carbon fuels; incentives promoting sustainable low-carbon and zero-carbon shipping; and support for the optimization of port calls including facilitation of just-in-time arrival of ships.

Fourth IMO GHG Study

The terms of reference for the Fourth IMO GHG Study were agreed and the tendering process will begin with an invitation to tender issued shortly. The IMO Secretariat will issue a circular letter for procuring the services of the contractor. A Steering Committee will be established to act as a focal point for MEPC, to review and monitor progress and confirm that the Study meets the terms of reference. It is intended that the work could begin in Autumn 2019, with a view to the final report of the Study being submitted to MEPC 76, to be held in Autumn 2020.

The study will include an inventory of current global emissions of GHGs and relevant substances emitted from ships of 100 GT and above engaged in international voyages, including total annual GHG emission series from 2012 to 2018. The GHGs follow the six gases defined in the UNFCCC process: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), as well as other relevant substances that may contribute to climate change, including Black Carbon (BC).

The study will also produce estimates of carbon intensity (estimates of world fleet's CO2 emissions per transport work, from 2012 to 2018), a possible estimate of carbon intensity of international shipping for the year 2008 (the baseline year for the levels of ambition identified in the Initial Strategy), and scenarios for future international shipping emissions 2018-2050.

Discussion of short-term candidate measures

The MEPC discussed various candidate short-term measures, including strengthening the energy efficiency requirements for existing ships, speed and other technical and operational measures. In view of the vast number of proposals, the working group focused on how to consider, organize and streamline proposals on candidate short-term measures.

The intersessional working group session will further consider candidate short-term measure, including concrete proposals to improve the operational energy efficiency of existing ships.

The MEPC also considered concrete proposals on candidate mid-/long-term measures, in particular measures aimed at encouraging the uptake of alternative low-carbon and zero-carbon fuels.

Terms of reference for sixth and seventh intersessional working group sessions

The MEPC approved the terms of reference for the sixth and seventh meetings of the Intersessional Working Group on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships - to be held, respectively, 11 to 15 November 2019 and back to back with MEPC 75 (in March 2020 ahead of MEPC 75, 30 March to 3 April 2020), subject to endorsement by the IMO Council (C122, 15-19 July).

The intersessional working group will:

* further consider concrete proposals to improve the operational energy efficiency of existing ships, with a view to developing draft amendments to Chapter 4 of MARPOL Annex VI and associated guidelines, as appropriate;

* further consider concrete proposals to reduce methane slip and emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs);

* consider a draft MEPC resolution urging Member States to develop and update a voluntary National Action Plan (NAP) with a view to contributing to reducing GHG emissions from international shipping, and develop associated guidelines, as appropriate;

* further consider concrete proposals to encourage the uptake of alternative low-carbon and zero-carbon fuels, including the development of lifecycle GHG/carbon intensity guidelines for all relevant types of fuels and incentive schemes, as appropriate;

* consider the development of further actions on capacity-building, technical cooperation, research and development, including support for assessment of impacts and support for implementation of measures; and

* consider other concrete proposals for candidate measures.

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