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IMO adopts carriage ban on high-sulphur fuel

Ships without scrubbers will be unable to carry fuel with a sulphur content higher than 0.5% from March 2020 after the move was adopted by IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) last week.

The move is seen as a key step in improving the enforceability of IMO’s global sulphur cap (to be implemented from 1 January 2020), meaning that ships will not be able to carry non-compliant fuel unless they have the means to comply with the sulphur limit. It is just one of several measures supporting the new sulphur regulations to have been agreed at the seventy-third sitting of MEPC.

The committee also approved guidance on ship implementation planning as part of a set of guidelines being developed by IMO to ensure consistent implementation. The g guidance includes sections on risk assessment and mitigation planning; fuel oil system modifications and tank cleaning; fuel oil capacity and segregation capability; procurement of compliant fuel; fuel oil changeover planning; and documentation and reporting.

Further guidance approved by MEPC includes best practice for fuel oil suppliers, which is intended to assist purchasers and users in assuring the quality of sulphur compliant fuel. The guidance pertains to aspects of the purchase up to the loading of the purchased fuel.

A proposal suggesting an ‘experience-building phase’ to allay concerns about the safety of low-sulphur fuels was defeated, despite receiving some strong support. However, MEPC invited proposals to the next sitting (in May next year) on how to enhance the implementation of regulation 18 if Marpol annex VI, which covers fuel oil quality and availability. The regulation requires parties to ‘take all reasonable steps’ to promote the availability of compliant fuel oils, as well as informing IMO of the availability of compliant fuel oils in its ports and terminals. Parties are also required to notify IMO when a ship has presented evidence of the non-availability of compliant fuel oil.

Ship owner association BIMCO declared itself ‘very satisfied’ with the developments. “The industry retains a fixed implementation date, which is important, while we at the same time address the safety concerns,” said Lars Robert Pedersen, deputy secretary general. He added that the association would work diligently to craft proposals that will enable the shipping industry to harvest experience to reduce the risk of safety issues associated with sulphur compliance.

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) welcomed progress at MEPC73 but noted that “numerous complex issues that need addressing urgently by IMO, both at the MEPC next May and by the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) in December”. A detailed paper has already been submitted to MSC calling on governments to better enforce fuel quality.

“In view of the enormity of this major change it’s likely there’ll be some teething problems immediately before and after 1 January 2020,” said Esben Poulsson, secretary general, ICS. “Many industry associations have raised legitimate concerns about fuel availability, safety and compatibility of new fuels – a particular problem for those in the tramp trades.

“But if shipowners can demonstrate in good faith that they’ve done everything possible to follow an implementation plan – in line with the template IMO has now adopted – we hope that common sense will prevail in the event that safe and compliant fuels are not immediately available everywhere.”

Source: Motorship.

Global shipping in ‘historic’ climate deal

The global shipping industry has for the first time agreed to cut its emissions of greenhouse gases. The move comes after talks in April at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) headquarters in London.

Shipping has previously been excluded from climate agreements, but under the new climate deal, emissions will be reduced by 50% by 2050 compared to 2008 levels.

One minister from a Pacific island state described the agreement as “history in the making”.

Shipping generates roughly the same quantity of greenhouse gases as Germany and, if it were accounted for as a nation, would rank as the world’s 6th biggest emitter.

Like aviation, it had been excluded from climate negotiations because it is an international activity while both the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement involved national pledges to reduce greenhouse gases.

The United States, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and a few other countries had not wanted to set a target for cutting shipping emissions at all.

By contrast the European Union had pushed for a cut of 70-100%.

So the deal for a 50% reduction is a compromise which some argue is unrealistic while others say does not go far enough.

Kitack Lim, secretary-general of the International Maritime Organization, who had chaired the controversial talks, said: “This initial strategy is not a final statement but a key starting point.”

The tiny Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands had opened the conference with a plea for action. Although it has the world’s second largest register of shipping, it had warned that failure to achieve deep cuts would threaten the country’s survival, as global warming raises sea levels.

As the talks concluded, the nation’s environment minister David Paul said: “To get to this point has been hard, very hard. And it has involved compromises by all countries. Not least by vulnerable island nations like my own who wanted something, far, far more ambitious than this one.”

Mr Paul added: “This is history in the making… if a country like the Marshall Islands, a country that is very vulnerable to climate change, and particularly depends on international shipping, can endorse this deal, there is no credible excuse for anybody else to hold back.”

Laurent Parente, the ambassador of Vanuatu, also a Pacific island nation, was not satisfied but hoped the deal would lead to tougher action in future. “It is the best we could do and is therefore what this delegation will support as the initial strategy that we have no doubt will evolve to higher ambitions in the near future.”

By contrast, the head of the US delegation to the talks, Jeffrey Lantz, made clear his country’s opposition to the deal. “We do not support the establishment of an absolute reduction target at this time,” he said. “In addition, we note that achieving significant emissions reductions, in the international shipping sector, would depend on technological innovation and further improvements in energy efficiency.” Mr Lantz reiterated that the US, under President Trump, has announced its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change. He also criticised the way the IMO had handled the talks, describing it as “unacceptable and not befitting this esteemed organisation.”

But a clear majority of the conference was in favour of action.

The UK’s shipping minister, Nusrat Ghani, described the agreement as ” a watershed moment with the industry showing it is willing to play its part in protecting the planet”.

The move will send a signal through the industry that rapid innovation is now needed. Ships may have to operate more slowly to burn less fuel. New designs for vessels will be streamlined and engines will have to be cleaner, maybe powered by hydrogen or batteries, or even by the wind.

Author: David Shukman, BBC Science Editor

Source: BBC News

Energy efficiency in shipping – why it matters!

All industries are looking to becoming cleaner, greener and more energy efficient – and shipping is no exception. Improved energy efficiency means less fuel is used, and that means less harmful emissions.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) – the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for safe, secure and environment-friendly shipping – is leading a European Union funded project designed to help shipping move into a new era of low-carbon operation.

IMO has launched a video outlining how the Global MTCC Network (GMN) initiative is uniting technology centres – Maritime Technology Cooperation Centres (MTCCs) – in targeted regions into a global network. Together, they are promoting technologies and operations to improve energy efficiency in the maritime sector.

“This project is one of the building blocks that will help shipping becoming greener,” says Magda Kopczynska, Director, DG MOVE, European Commission.

Five MTCCs have been established in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific. Acting as centres of excellence for their regions, the MTCCs will work with partners to develop technical cooperation, capacity building and technology transfer – sharing the results and their experiences throughout the network to ensure a common approach to a global issue.

Innovative programmes and projects are being developed and carried out by the MTCCs – all designed to promote energy-efficient technologies and operations.

Developing countries and, in particular, Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States, will be the main beneficiaries of this ambitious initiative.

For regions particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change, it’s a chance to get involved in promoting technologies and operations to improve energy efficiency in the maritime sector.

“When we saw this project, we saw it as an opportunity to build partnership throughout the region to mitigate, at least in the maritime sector, the impacts of climate change,” says Vivian Rambarath-Parasram, Head of MTCC-Caribbean.

Estimates say ships’ energy consumption and CO2 emissions could be reduced by up to 75% by applying operational measures and implementing existing technologies. The GMN is on the cutting edge of climate-change mitigation – and, at the same time, opening up a world of opportunities for those who participate in it.

“We’re looking forward to building capacity for not just Kenya but for the African region in general – to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to improve air quality in our port cities,” says Nancy W. Karigithu, Principal Secretary Maritime and Shipping Affairs, Kenya.

By promoting technologies and operations to improve energy efficiency in the maritime sector and helping navigate shipping into a low-carbon future, the GMN project is steering a course for a cleaner, greener future.

The GMN project is funded by the European Union and implemented by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

MTCCs:

  • MTCC-Africa, hosted by Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Mombasa, Kenya
  • MTCC-Asia, hosted by Shanghai Maritime University, China
  • MTCC-Caribbean, hosted by University of Trinidad and Tobago, Trinidad and Tobago
  • MTCC-Latin America, hosted by International Maritime University of Panama, Panama
  • MTCC-Pacific, hosted by Pacific Community, Suva, Fiji

Source: Hellenic Shipping News