The 79th Session of the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) was held between 12-16 December 2022. Important changes were made in the Marine Environment Protection Committee meeting, especially within the framework of the MARPOL convention.
We can summarize the MEPC 79 meeting as follows:
MARPOL ANNEX VI – Mediterranean SECA Region Announced
The designation of the Mediterranean as a whole as an Emissions Control Area (SECA) for sulfur oxides (SOX) and particulate matter (PM) was accepted. As part of the amendments to MARPOL Annex VI, it will enter into force on 1 May 2024 and will begin to apply from 1 May 2025.
MARPOL ANNEX V – Garbage Record Book
Previously, all ships of 400 GRT and above, as well as ships carrying 15 or more passengers, had to have and fill a Garbage Record Book. After the 79th Session of the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), a Garbage Record Book was made mandatory for ships between 100 GRT and 400 gross tons.
Data Collection System for Ships’ Fuel Consumption (IMO DCS)
MEPC 79 endorsed the following unified comment on IMO DCS:
Data on the boiling gas (BOG) consumed for propulsion or operation on LNG-fueled ships or LNG carriers will need to be collected and reported as fuel oil consumption as part of the IMO DCS.
Revision of IMO GHG Strategy
Studies are continuing to update the First Strategy Document on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from ships, which was adopted in 2018, and to create a Strategy Document.
Although a full consensus could not be reached among the member states, the Strategy Paper will be adopted at the MEPC 80 session to be held in July 2023. The subject will continue to be discussed in the intersessional working group to be held before MEPC 80.
Sensitive Marine Areas
It was decided, in principle, to designate the Northwest Mediterranean Sea as a PSSA (Special Sensitive Marine Area) for the protection of marine mammals.
Ballast Water Record Book
The amendments to the Appendix II (Balast Water Record Book Form) in the Annex to the Ballast Water Convention have been accepted.
It was stated that there were problems during the PSC audits due to different interpretations of the recording of the Ballast Water Record Book (BWRB) specified in Annex II of the BWM Convention.
Requirements for a review of the BWRB format and a guide on how to describe it were discussed. MEPC 79 approved changes to the BWRB format to be recorded in Codes (letters) and Items (numbers), similar to the Oil Record Logbook format.
With regard to the use of ballast water treatment systems (BWMS), as there are ports with challenging water quality which makes it difficult to operate the BWMS continuously; In such ports, it is recommended to take the ballast water without going through the BWMS and to perform the ballast water exchange plus treatment (BWE + BWT) in the areas where the treatment system can operate normally. In this session, it was recommended to clearly define the criteria for “challenging water quality” that affect the continuous normal operation of the BWMS. MEPC 79, agreed to continue discussion at next session.
Information to be Included in the Bunker Delivery Note (BDN)
MARPOL adopted amendments to Annex V of Annex VI, requiring the fuel delivery note to include flash point information for fuel delivered to the ship. This change will come into effect on May 1, 2024.
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