October 4, 2002Green issues take center stage at IMOBallast water management, greenhouse gas emissions and ship recycling are among issues high on the agenda for next week's 48th session of IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee . . Ballast Water Management At the World Summit on Sustainable Development in August, IMO was urged to finalize the new Convention on Ballast Water Management. Following the approval in principle by the IMO Council and Assembly to convene a Diplomatic Conference on ballast water management, this session of MEPC will be assessing progress on preparation of the draft convention with a view to finalizing the timing of the Diplomatic Conference. The immediate challenge is to agree appropriate standards for ballast water within the limitations of the technology available now and in the near future, while maintaining the overall objective of eliminating the problem totally. Greenhouse gases The Committee is expected to make progress on preparation of a draft Assembly resolution that will indicate IMO's commitment to dealing with greenhouse gas issues and will general directions as guidance for its future work on this important matter. IMO had been invited, in a resolution adopted by the 1997 MARPOL Conference, to undertake a study of CO2 emissions from ships. It was also especially requested to deal with emissions from ships, under the Kyoto Protocol of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The IMO Study on Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Ships was published in 2000 and MEPC was invited to consider the IMO strategy to control greenhouse gas emissions from ships, based on this and on submissions from delegations. A correspondence group established by the last session of MEPC produced a basis for further discussions on various technical and operational issues, including whether IMO's efforts should be concentrated on CO2 alone, whether mandatory emission standards are achievable and whether the greenhouse gas indexing approach is likely to be of value. Ship recycling MEPC is set to consider further the proposal to develop IMO guidelines on ship recycling. It is anticipated that comprehensive guidelines will be prepared for adoption by the IMO Assembly next year. It is recognized that, while IMO has a role to play in reducing the safety and environmental risks associated with ship demolition and recycling, there are clearly limits to the scope of IMO's activities in dealing with the issue. Cooperation with other UN agencies, namely ILO and the Basel Convention Secretariat, has been recognized as crucial in preparing any international measures. Model Audit Scheme MEPC will also consider proposals for a voluntary IMO Model Audit Scheme for Flag States. The concept has been approved in principle by the Council which will continue its discussions on the mater at its next meeting in November. The scheme will also be considered by the Maritime Safety Committee and the Technical Co-operation Committee. Other issues Other important matters on the MEPC agenda at this session include: adoption of amendments to the Condition Assessment Scheme under MARPOL regulation 13G adoption of amendments to the list of substances under the 1973 Intervention Protocol further consideration of the MARPOL Annex II categorization scheme consideration of the successful conclusion and recommendations of the Third R&D Forum on High Density Oil Spill Response and of the work program for implementation of the OPRC HNS Protocol proposals for Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas technical co-operation programmes development of guidelines for the implementation of the Anti-Fouling Convention
October 16, 2002"Green Passports" for ships?A "Green Passport" for a ship that would eventually accompany it to the scrapping yard was one of the items on the agenda at last week's 48th session of IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee .The "Green Passport" was suggested in discussions on draft IMO Guidelines on ship recycling. The aim is to have a final draft ready for adoption by the next IMO Assembly in 2003. The draft guidelines note that, in the process of recycling ships, virtually nothing goes to waste. The materials and equipment are almost entirely reused. Steel is reprocessed to become, for instance, reinforcing rods for use in the construction industry or as corner castings and hinges for containers. Ships' generators are reused ashore. Batteries find their way into the local economy. Hydrocarbons on board become reclaimed oil products to be used as fuel in rolling mills or brick kilns; light fittings find further use on land etc. Furthermore, new steel production from recycled steel requires only one third of the energy used for steel production from raw materials. Recycling makes a positive contribution to the global conservation of energy and resources and, in the process, employs a large, if predominantly unskilled, workforce. Properly handled, ship recycling is, without question, a "green" industry. However, the guidelines recognize that, while the principle of ship recycling may be sound, the working practices and environmental standards in the yards often leave much to be desired. While ultimate responsibility for conditions in the yards has to lie with the countries in which they are situated, other stakeholders must be encouraged to contribute towards minimising potential problems in the yards. The guidelines have been developed to give advice to all stakeholders in the recycling process, including administrations of shipbuilding and maritime equipment supplying countries, flag, port and recycling states, as well as intergovernmental organizations and commercial bodies such as shipowners, shipbuilders, repairers and recycling yards. The concept of a "Green Passport" is that this document, containing an inventory of all materials potentially hazardous to human health or the environment, used in the construction of a ship, would accompany the ship throughout its working life. Produced by the shipyard at the construction stage and passed to the purchaser of the vessel, the document would be in a format that would enable any subsequent changes in materials or equipment to be recorded. Successive owners of the ship would maintain the accuracy of the Green Passport and incorporate into it all relevant design and equipment changes, with the final owner delivering it, with the vessel, to the recycling yard. The MEPC agreed to refer certain key outstanding issues to various IMO Sub-Committees for further consideration. The Ship Design and Equipment Sub-Committee and the Sub-Committee on Bulk Liquids and Gases will be asked to produce a list of potentially hazardous materials which might be found on board ships. Such materials may be inherent in the structure of the vessel or its equipment, carried as stores or spares or generated during the normal operations of the vessel including cargo residues. The Sub-Committee on Flag State Implementation will be asked to look into the possible future need to examine the issue of last voyages and port State control. Ballast Water Management The Committee is to recommend to the IMO Council that a Diplomatic Conference be convened in early 2004 to adopt a draft convention on ballast water management, following substantial progress made on the issue at this meeting and at the intersessional working group on the subject that had met prior to MEPC. Among the outstanding issues to be resolved was the development of appropriate standards for ballast water treatment. At the previous meeting of the MEPC, 14 separate options had been developed. These have now been reduced to just two options for short term standards and a single option for long term standards which is linked to what the draft Convention is trying to achieve, a substantial reduction in the risk of transfer of harmful aquatic organisms through ballast water. Greenhouse gases The Committee made progress in developing a draft Assembly resolution on greenhouse gas emissions from ships and invited Members to submit comments on the draft to the next meeting of the MEPC. The Committee agreed that policy issues on greenhouse gas emission in the context of Article 2.2 of the Kyoto Protocol needed to be resolved before further action was taken on the draft resolution.In its draft form the resolution urges the MEPC to identify and develop the mechanism or mechanisms needed to achieve the limitation or reduction of GHG emissions from international shipping, and in doing so give priority to the establishment of a GHG emission baseline, the development of a methodology to describe the GHG-efficiency of a ship expressed as a GHG-index for that ship, recognizing that CO2 is the main greenhouse gas emitted by ships. It also calls for the establishment of Guidelines by which the GHG emission index may be applied in practice. The Guidelines would take into account related cost-benefit evaluations and verification procedures and be based on an evaluation of technical, operational and market-based solutions.It also calls for Governments, in co-operation with the shipping industry, to promote and implement voluntary measures to limit or reduce GHG emissions from international shipping, when the GHG emission indexing scheme is developed by the Marine Environment Protection Committee.Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas and Special Areas It was agreed to designate the Wadden Sea area in Northern Europe as a PSSA. The Committee also agreed, in principle, to designate the Paracas National Reserve in Peru as a PSSA, pending consideration of a separate proposal from Peru for an "Area to be Avoided" by the NAVSub-Committee and approved by the Maritime Safety Committee. It was also agreed that the Oman Area of the Arabian Sea be designated as a Special Area under Annex I of MARPOLE73/78, which is expected to be adopted by MEPC 49 in July 2003. The Committee agreed to issue a circular containing a guidance document to help Member States in preparing proposals for areas to be designated as PSSAs. The guidance contains a framework of what needs to be included in a proposal. Note: In Annexes I, II and V, MARPOL 73/78 defines certain sea areas as "special areas" in which, for technical reasons relating to their oceanographical and ecological condition and to their sea traffic, the adoption of special mandatory methods for the prevention of sea pollution is required. Under the Convention, these special areas are provided with a higher level of protection than other areas of the sea. A Particularly Sensitive Sea Area is an area that needs special protection through action by IMO because of its significance for recognized ecological or socio-economic or scientific reasons and which may be vulnerable to damage by international maritime activities. The criteria for the identification of particularly sensitive sea areas and the criteria for the designation of special areas are not mutually exclusive. In many cases a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area may be identified within a Special Area and vice versa. Other matters The Committee adopted resolution MEPC.99 containing the amendments to the Condition Assessment Scheme, which is a mandatory requirement under the revised regulation 13G of Annex I to MARPOL 73/78. The Committee also adopted amendments to the list of substances subject to the 1973 Intervention Protocol by resolution MEPC.100. The Committee approved the final revised Manual on Oil Pollution: Section IV – Combating Oil Spills, and authorized its publication. The Committee approved, subject to MSC's concurrent decision, a draft MSC/MEPC circular on Guidelines for ships operating in Arctic ice-covered waters The Committee approved, subject to the concurrence by MSC, the draft MSC/MEPC circular on Interim Guidelines to assist flag States and other substantially interested States to establish and maintain an effective framework for consultation and co-operation in marine casualty investigations
May 15, 2002IMO legal panel ducks "transparency" issuePeople who own ships but don't want that fact publicly known can breathe a sigh of relief. IMO's Legal Committee has concluded that, for maritime security purposes, the central or fundamental question in matters relating to ownership and control of vessels is who has effective operational control of the ship. It believes it has identified a number of ways in which this can be determined.After an extensive discussion about the definition of the terms "ownership" and "control" of ships in the context of detecting or deterring unlawful acts involving the use of a ship, the panel concluded that answers to the following three questions would be relevant:Who appoints the crew? Who fixes the use of the ship? Who signs the charterparty on behalf of the owner?Getting answers to these questions falls a long way short of having anything like true "transparency" of ownership.The legal panel came up with its three questions after a request from an IMO working group. The legal panel's recommendation is now being considered by IMO's Maritime Safety Committee , which is meeting this month.During the Legal Committee's discussions, there was general support for an approach which focused on practical information that could be used to identify the person who was in effective operational control of the ship. One delegation said the focus should be on the practical information which might be made available to a port state by the ship or the ship's agent prior to port entry, rather than on the more complex issues relating to beneficial ownership.Another said that the most pertinent and complete information relating to ship-board security or the use of the vessel may be obtained by identifying the managers or operators of a vessel, possibly with particular reference to an individual designated as responsible for ship-board security, along lines similar to the ISM Code.The committee also noted article 6 of the UNCTAD Convention on Ship Registration of
THE MARINE LOG FEATURES CALENDAR FOR 2003
O'Neil pointed to recently released Lloyd's Underwriters statistics for 1991 to
He also made referred to the improving figures concerning bulk carrier safety, an issue with which the MSC has been dealing for more than a decade. He called conclusions reached in INTERCARGO's latest Bulk Carrier Casualty report "very encouraging indeed."
In the ten-year period from 1993 to 2002, the average number of bulk carriers, lives and deadweight tonnage lost has fallen.
"The beneficial impact of the standards adopted by this Organization, either in the form of amendments to SOLAS or the application of FSA in the IMO decision-making process, and those approved by IACS, should be recognized as contributing to the improvements in this sector of shipping," said O'Neil. He added that further gains should be expected following the adoption of the proposed amendments to the 1988 Load Line Protocol which are before the Committee at this session.
The MSC faces a heavy schedule at the current session, which started yesterday and ends June 6.
A revised Annex B to the 1988 Load Lines Protocol and amendments to the enhanced survey programme for bulk carriers and oil tankers are expected to be adopted and other issues on the agenda include the implementation of the far reaching security measures adopted in December 2002, places of refuge, the safety of bulk carriers, the proposed IMO Model Audit Scheme (which is an attempt to improve flag state performance) and implementation of the revised STCW Convention.
Revised 1988 Load Lines Protocol
The MSC (including Parties to the 1988 Load Lines Protocol) is expected to adopt what amounts to a comprehensive revision of the technical regulations of the original Load Lines Convention.
The proposed amendments to Annex B to the 1988 Load Lines Protocol (i.e. the International Convention on Load Lines, 1966, as modified by the Protocol of 1988 relating thereto) include a number of important revisions, in particular to regulations concerning: strength and intact stability of ships; definitions; superstructure and bulkheads; doors; position of hatchways, doorways and ventilators; hatchway coamings; hatch covers; machinery space openings; miscellaneous openings in freeboard and superstructure decks; cargo ports and other similar openings; spurling pipes and cable lockers; side scuttles; windows and skylights; calculation of freeing ports; protection of the crew and means of safe passage for crew; calculation of freeboard; sheer; minimum bow height and reserve buoyancy; and others.
The amendments, when adopted, would not affect the 1966 LL Convention and would only apply to approximately two-thirds of the world's fleet, i.e., to those ships flying the flags of States Party to the 1988 LL Protocol. At the end of April 2003, the Load Lines Protocol 1988 had been ratified by 63 States representing 63.25 per cent of world merchant shipping tonnage, while the 1966 LL Convention had been ratified by 150 States representing 98.45 per cent.)
At its last session the MSC agreed to the drafting of an Assembly resolution to encourage all Contracting Governments to the 1966 Load Lines Convention to become Parties to the 1988 LL Protocol, as the most practical way of achieving widespread application of the new provisions.
Amendments to SOLAS
The expanded MSC is expected to adopt amendments to chapter V on Safety of Navigation of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea , 1974, as amended.
The proposed amendments to SOLAS regulations V/2 Definitions and V/22 Navigation Bridge Visibility add the definition of "length" to regulation V/2 and a consequential editorial change is made to regulation V/22. The draft proposed definition states that "length of a vessel means her length overall".
Proposed draft amendments to SOLAS regulation V/28 on Records of navigational activities add a new paragraph on daily reporting. The proposed draft amendments would require all ships of 500 gross tonnage and above, engaged on international voyages exceeding 48 hours, to submit a daily report to their company, to include ship's position; ship's course and speed; and details of any external or internal conditions that are affecting the ship's voyage or the normal safe operation of the ship.
The aim of the proposed draft amendments is to address the responsibilities of ship operators to provide information of benefit to those responsible for mounting rescue operations.
The MSC is expected to adopt amendments to the Guidelines on the enhanced program of inspections during surveys of bulk carriers and oil tankers (resolution A.744, to include a new appendix 3 to Annex 12 of Annex B of the Guidelines relating to the sampling method of thickness measurements for longitudinal strength evaluation and repair methods.
The MSC will consider issues facilitating the implementation of the security measures adopted by the 2002 SOLAS Conference on Maritime Security.
Bulk carrier safety
The MSC is expected to establish a working group to continue the work on bulk carrier safety. The working group will consider the outcome of the Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Equipment which, at its 46th session in March, looked in detail at a significant number of bulk carrier safety-related issues which had been referred to it by the previous MSC.
Amongst other issues, the MSC at this session will be invited to adopt the draft MSC resolution on Performance standards for water level detectors on bulk carriers and the draft MSC resolution on Application of IACS Unified Requirements S26, S27, S30 and S31 to bulk carriers. It will also be invited to approve a number of bulk carrier safety-related circulars and consider preliminary draft amendments to SOLAS chapter XII, concerning the introduction of basic definitions of bulk carrier; bulk carrier of single-side skin construction; bulk carrier of double-side skin construction; and double-side skin, for the purpose of that chapter, when deciding on further action regarding the general review of SOLAS chapter XII.
Places of refuge
The MSC will review the issue of places of refuge, including two draft Assembly resolutions on Guidelines on places of refuge for ships in need of assistance and Guidelines on a Maritime Assistance Service , prepared by the Sub-Committee on Safety of Navigation . The MSC will receive the outcome of discussions on the draft resolutions from the Sub-Committee on Radiocommunications and Search and Rescue and the Legal Committee.
The MSC is expected to provide further relevant instruction to NAV 49, which meets in June-July, in order for the drafts to be submitted to the Assembly in November-December 2003.
Implementation of the revised STCW Convention
The list of Parties deemed to be giving full and complete effect to the provisions of the revised STCW Convention is set to be updated when IMO Secretary-General William O'Neil submits his report on those countries whose evaluations have been completed since the previous MSC meeting.
The MSC will be invited to publish the names of any countries that now qualify to be added to the list.
Proposed IMO Model Audit Scheme
The MSC will consider further the development of the proposed IMO Model Audit Scheme, which would be designed to help promote maritime safety and environmental protection by assessing how effectively Member States implement and enforce relevant IMO Convention standards, and by providing them with feedback and advice on their current performance.
The MSC will convene the Joint MSC/Marine Environment Protection Committee /Technical Co-operation Committee Working Group on the voluntary IMO Model Audit Scheme, which will be tasked with the following:
Flag State implementation
The MSC will review issues arising from the work of the Sub-Committee on Flag State Implementation which, at its 11th session in April 2003, had agreed that a new proposed draft Code for the implementation of IMO instruments - which would outline how this should be achieved by all parties involved - would play an important role in ensuring complete and uniform implementation of IMO standards by all stakeholders (i.e. flag States, port States and coastal States).
The work on the development of the Code follows a proposal to develop amendments to the Guidelines to assist flag States in the implementation of IMO instruments (resolution A.847 to introduce transparent criteria for proper implementation of IMO instruments by flag States and to transform the Guidelines into a Flag State Implementation Code, to be made mandatory at a later stage.
Large passenger ship safety
The MSC will review ongoing work on large passenger ship safety.
Piracy and armed robbery against ships
The MSC will review the reports on incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships submitted to IMO and consider proposals to develop a co-ordinated plan of action for future activities to tackle piracy and armed robbery against ships through regional agreements.
IMO's ant-piracy project began in 1998. Phase one consisted of a number of regional seminars and workshops attended by Governmental representatives from countries in piracy-infested areas of the world; while phase two consisted of a number of evaluation and assessment missions to different regions.
Since then, IMO has convened one sub-regional meeting for West and Central Africa for the purpose of considering the conclusion of regional agreements on the prevention and suppression of acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships, and is in the process of organizing similar meetings in other regions of the world.
The Committee will also consider plans concerning technical assistance, in agreement with, and on the request of, countries concerned, within the Organization's anti-piracy project.