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Report from the IMO’s latest Marine Environmental Protection Committee is now available for British Marine members to download

Published on: 08 December 2021

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ICOMIA have now published a report following the 77th session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) held virtually from 22 to 26 November 2021. 

The key items of interest to our members discussed at the meeting are as follows:

Potentially Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) North-Western Mediterranean

France, Monaco, Spain and Italy are proposing to designate the north-western Mediterranean as a PSSA, details can be found in documents MEPC 77/INF.27 and MEPC 77/INF.28 which can be found embedded at the bottom of the full ICOMIA report on the British Marine website. The area of the proposed PSSA is mapped in the information papers. The co-sponsors are concerned about the high incidence of collisions between vessels and cetaceans and are proposing to impose speed limits and possibly routeing measures to keep vessels away from large marine mammals. A multi-stakeholder consultation is planned to commence soon and interested parties can obtain further information by sending a request to the following email address:

GHG reduction

The Committee considered the reports of the Inter-sessional working groups on GreenHouse Gases (ISWG-GHG) 9 and 10 held in September and October. Short, mid and long-term measures were discussed. Although much of the session was taken up with these matters, few decisions were made. The Committee recognised the need for the IMO strategy to be more ambitious, with some delegations calling for net zero GHG emissions by 2050 instead of the current strategy of a 50% reduction in the 2008 emissions by 2050. It was agreed that there should be a revision of the strategy with a plan for adoption at MEPC 80 in early 2023.

Market-based measures were discussed along with low and zero-carbon fuels and a universal GHG levy. These topics will be further considered and refined at further sessions of the ISWG-GHG.

Proposal regarding making the Garbage Record Book mandatory for ships of 100 GT (including yachts) and above

The Cook Islands et al submitted attached document MEPC 77/8 “Consider making mandatory the Garbage Record Book for all ships of 100 gross tonnage and above by amending MARPOL Annex V”. The rationale behind the proposal is that it would reduce the amount of plastic litter disposed of into the sea by shipping. The move is aimed principally at the fishing industry which is responsible for the majority of plastic waste at sea. During the discussion of the paper there was widespread support and the Committee instructed the PPR Sub-Committee to prepare draft amendments to MARPOL Annex V.

Marine plastic litter

A working group with the terms of reference (detailed in the full ICOMIA report) was established during the meeting.

The report of the working group is contained in the embedded documents of the downloadable ICOMIA report and is labelled MEPC 77/WP.9. The Committee adopted the draft MEPC resolution on the Strategy to address marine plastic litter from ships which can be found at annex 1 of the report of the working group.

 In addition, the Committee agreed to request the Secretariat to engage a consultant, using financial contributions received to date, to review the Terms of Reference of the IMO Study on Marine Plastic Litter and advise MEPC 78 on how the Study could progress at MEPC 78.

Work programme of the Committee and Subsidiary bodies

The Committee agreed to the following new work items to be considered by the PPR Sub-Committee:

  • A new output on the revision of regulation 13.2.2 of MARPOL annex VI to clarify whether a marine diesel engine replacing a boiler is considered a replacement engine and if so, to amend the 2013 guidelines accordingly. 
  • The development of amendments to MARPOL Annex VI and the NOx Technical Code on the use of multiple engine operational profiles for a marine diesel engine and on the clarification of test cycles. 
  • Amendments to the 2017 Guidelines addressing additional aspects of the NOX Technical Code 2008 with regard to particular requirements related to marine diesel engines fitted with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) systems (resolution MEPC.291(71), as amended by resolution MEPC.313(74)).
The full ICOMIA report, with all the supporting IMO documents embedded at the bottom of the report, is free to download for British Marine members from the British Marine website here