What to expect: Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 75) – November 16-20 2020

What to expect: Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 75)

London: November 16-20, 2020: As the International Maritime Organization prepares for its first virtual Marine Environment Protection Committee meeting, here’s what to expect on issues of relevance to the Arctic:

Heavy Fuel Oil:
NGOs will draw attention to the inadequate impact and effectiveness of the draft regulation banning the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil (HFO) by ships in Arctic waters. Recently published work indicates that loopholes in the draft regulation mean that only 30% of HFO carriage and 16% of HFO use would be banned when the regulation comes into effect as proposed in 2024, and incredibly, that it is likely that the amount of HFO carried and used in the Arctic will increase following the ban taking effect.

Black Carbon
Despite the dramatic changes occuring in the Arctic in due response to global warming, unfortunately the risk to the Arctic from emissions of black carbon from shipping, is not likely to be addressed at MEPC 75. The Clean Arctic Alliance will however continue to push for the development and adoption of an MEPC Black Carbon resolution which would set out recommended interim measures pending completion of IMO work to identify and implement one or more Black Carbon abatement measures. The best that can be hoped for now will be a commitment from Member States to approve a resolution early in 2021.

Read more: Clean Arctic Alliance Slams Proposed Arctic Shipping Regulation as Full of Dangerous Loopholes »

IMO Papers relating to HFO and Black Carbon, MEPC 75 »

IMO Papers relating to HFO and Black Carbon, PPR 7 »

Webinar: A Ban in Name Only: Implications of the IMO’s Draft Heavy Fuel Oil Ban in the Arctic During the Clean Arctic Alliance webinar held on September 28, The IMO draft Arctic Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) regulation: A ban in name only?, the speakers explored the social and legal implications of the International Maritime Organization’s draft Arctic HFO regulation if adopted as currently drafted, and what it will mean for Arctic environmental protection. A video recording of the webinar can be viewed here »
Clean Arctic Alliance Slams Proposed Arctic Shipping Regulation as Full of Dangerous Loopholes Proposed International Maritime Organization ban would allow exemptions and waivers resulting in 84% of Arctic shipping continuing to burn HFO in the Arctic, and permitting 70% of vessels to still carry HFO as fuel. London, 3 September 2020:– Responding to the release of a new White Paper: The International Maritime Organization’s Proposed Arctic Heavy Fuel Oil Ban: Likely Impacts And Opportunities For Improvement by the International Council on Clean Transportation (iCCT), Clean Arctic Alliance Lead Advisor Dr Sian Prior said: “Now it’s clear the IMO’s proposed ban on HFO use in the Arctic is a ban in name only”. Continue reading »

Outcomes from PPR 7, February 2020:

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.

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 needed 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 was 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 called 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 considered 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 called 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.