PPR7: Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response, February 17-21 2020

The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Pollution Prevention & Response (PPR 7) sub-committee met in London between 17 – 21 February, 2020. The agenda included two items of particular relevance to the Arctic, its ecosystems and its people. Below is a summary of the outcomes – for the Clean Arctic Alliance statement on PPR 7, see our the press release: Arctic Heavy Fuel Oil Ban Inches Forward, but loopholes denounced as “outrageous”.

Outcomes from PPR 7

Heavy Fuel Oil Spills

  • IMO Regulation that starts to restrict the use and carriage of HFO as fuel on ships operating in Arctic waters will begin to take effect from 1 July 2024 – with the ban only taking place in 2029.
  • Application to vessels with double-hulls or protected fuel tanks will be delayed until 1 July 2029     N.B. This means as older vessels are replaced with double-hulls and protected fuel tanks more ships will be exempt from the ban until 1st July 2029. Protected fuel tanks is only a requirement in the Polar Code for Category A and B ships constructed on or after 1 January 2017 and isn’t required by Category C tanks or by ships with small oil fuel tanks (max individual capacity not greater than 30m3.
  • Arctic countries (with a coastline which borders on Arctic waters) may waive the ban for ships flying their flag while operating in their waters and taking into account mitigation measure guidelines (still to be finalised) until 1 July 2029
  • Waivers should be reported
  • A Correspondence Group will work between now and PPR 8 to finalise the mitigation measure guidelines

 

Black Carbon

  • Support for revision of the ISO standard on marine fuels to consider taking into account concerns around the aromaticity of marine fuels
  • A Correspondence Group will advance the development of a standardized sampling, conditioning and measurement protocol and also investigate linkages between the measurement systems and policy options and report to PPR 8.
Ship sculpture by Michael Sandle International Maritime Organization, London- davewalshphoto.com
© Dave Walsh

Background:

The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Pollution Prevention & Response (PPR) sub-committee met in London between 17 – 21 February, 2020 and the agenda included two items of particular relevance to the Arctic, its ecosystems and its people.

    1. Agenda Item 14: The development of measures to reduce risks of use and carriage of heavy fuel oil as fuel by ships in Arctic waters; and
    2. Agenda Item 8: The reduction of the impacts on the Arctic of Black Carbon emissions from international shipping.

 

1. Agenda Item 14: Development of measures to reduce risks of use and carriage of heavy fuel oil as fuel by ships in Arctic waters

To accomplish this, PPR7 needs to:

  • Consider information available on assessment of impacts of a ban on the use and carriage of HFO as fuel by Arctic shipping, and
  • On the basis of an assessment of the impacts, develop a ban on HFO for use and carriage as fuel by ships in Arctic waters, on an appropriate timescale;

Work to conclude the impact assessment methodology was completed at PPR 6 and endorsed by MEPC 74, and a working definition of HFO taking into account regulation 43 of MARPOL Annex I was developed at PPR 6 and noted by MEPC 74. PPR is also been asked to prepare a set of Guidelines on mitigation measures to reduce risks of use and carriage of heavy fuel oil as fuel by ships in Arctic waters (a Correspondence Group has operated over the past year and will report to PPR 7).

The Clean Arctic Alliance calls on IMO Member States at PPR 7 to:

Strengthen the protection of the Arctic marine environment from the impacts of international shipping by agreeing to a new regulation banning the use and carriage of HFO as fuel by ships operating in Arctic waters (through an amendment to MARPOL Annex I).

2. Agenda Item 8: Reduction of the impacts on the Arctic of Black Carbon emissions from international shipping

PPR 7 will consider concrete proposals on how to control Black Carbon emissions to reduce the impact on the Arctic of Black Carbon emissions from international shipping, and develop a standardized sampling, conditioning and measurement protocol for Black Carbon emissions from international shipping. In light of the expected increase in black carbon emissions as ships move to low sulphur fuel oils to meet with IMO 2020 sulphur cap (presented in PPR 7/8) we are calling for urgent action.

The Clean Arctic Alliance calls on IMO Member States at PPR 7 to:

Urgently require ships to immediately switch to distillate fuels while operating in Arctic waters, develop a global rule prohibiting fuels with high black carbon emissions, and agree a Resolution calling on ship owners, charterers, fuel providers and other stakeholders to implement these measures on a voluntary basis while new regulations are developed and enter into force.

To sum up - PPR7 must accomplish the following tasks:

  • Agree a new regulation banning the use and carriage of HFO as fuel by ships operating in Arctic waters
  • Call for all ships operating in the Arctic to immediately switch to distillate fuels
  • Support the development of a global rule prohibiting fuels with high black carbon emissions
  • Urge MEPC75 (March 31- April 3rd) to agree a Resolution calling on ship owners, charterers, fuel providers and other stakeholders to implement a switch to distillate in the Arctic on a voluntary basis until new regulations are developed and enter into force.