London, 13-14 May 2019
IMO’s MEPC 74th session has been held from 13th to 17th of May, 2019. The agenda included many topics but the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships was the key agenda item, following up on the initial IMO strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships.
The cargo handling community was represented by ICHCA who has a status of observer at IMO.
Ahead of the MEPC meeting, ESPO expressed support to the EU proposal on the exhaust gas cleaning systems (scrubbers). The proposal, which has been submitted by the EU 28 Member States and the European Commission, aims to start the discussion at international level on the discharges from scrubbers into the water, especially in sensitive areas such as ports.
To protect the water quality and to respect the EU standards imposed by the Water Framework Directive, some EU Member States have taken initiatives to limit liquid discharges from scrubbers in port areas.
European port authorities support the European plea for prompt and harmonized action on the basis of scientific evidence available with regard to the impact of liquid discharges from scrubbers on water quality.
Among decisions made during the MEPC : the adoption of the new IMO regulations to strengthen and bring forward the application of the Energy Efficiency Design Index for several different types of new build vessel, including containerships, the agreement of procedures to conduct assessments of the impacts of proposed GHG reduction measures on the economies of IMO Member States and the IMO’s additional guidance to assist smooth implementation of the global sulphur cap on 1 January 2020 and the requirement for ships outside sulphur emission control areas to use fuel with a sulphur content of 0.5% or less.
No final decisions have been taken during the MEPC 74th session regarding mandatory speed limits proposed by France and other countries; some parties having expressed concern that these would dincentivize the take-up of new CO2 reduction technologies.
Other important agenda items of the MEPC included: the adoption of MARPOL amendments to strengthen requirements regarding discharge of high-viscosity substances, such as certain vegetable oils and paraffin-like cargoes; follow-up to the follow up on the IMO Action Plan to address marine plastic litter from ships; implementation of the Ballast Water Management Convention; and approval, for future adoption, of draft amendments to the International Convention for the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships (AFS), to include controls on the biocide cybutryne.