Representatives of Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS) as members of the Russian delegation took an active part in the 75th session of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) that met in virtual session on 16-20 November 2020. Over 1200 participants from more than 100 member state delegations including the Russian Federation attended the event.
The virtual session featured the key points of the MEPC 75 agenda, including the approval of the amendments to the IMO mandatory tools as well as a whole range of environment protection related issues, such as prevention of air pollution, energy efficiency of the global shipping, reduction of GHG emissions from ships, prevention of pollution and response, harmful aquatic organisms in ballast water.
MEPC 75 approved draft amendments to MARPOL Annex VI covering short-term measures aimed at the reduction of GHG emissions from ships. The amendments refer to the most of the existing ships operating internationally (depending on the ship category and deadweight) and may be described as follows:
• the Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI) is required to be calculated for each of the abovementioned ship; this index should not exceed a specific threshold depending on the ship’s type and deadweight,
• the Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) is required to be calculated annually for ships of 5000 GT and above and to be verified by a recognized organization.
The amendments are expected to be adopted at MEPC 76 in June 2021 along with the set of guidelines facilitating their implementation, with entry into force on January 1, 2023.
The pivotal outcome of the MEPC 75 is the approval of the amendments to MARPOL Annex I prohibiting the use and carriage for use as fuel of heavy fuel oil (HFO) by ships in Arctic waters. The initial ban entry into force date (from 2022) is now drafted as July 1, 2024. The ban will not cover the state-owned and naval ships, vessels engaged in securing the safety of other ships or in a search and rescue operation and oil spill response.
Moreover, it is agreed that all ships provided with fuel oil tank protection in compliance with MARPOL and the Polar Code will be exempted from the ban requirements until July 1, 2029. In addition, until July 1, 2029 the states with an Arctic coastline will have an opportunity to waive the ban for the ships flying their flags while operating in waters subject to the their sovereignty or jurisdiction, taking into account the IMO Guidelines on Measures to Reduce Risks of Use and Carriage of Heavy Fuel Oil as Fuel by Ships in Arctic Waters.
RS specialists took an active part in the development of the Russian Federation position for MEPC 75.