IMO Environment Committee approves amendments to reduce emissions from ships

18 November 2020

The Committee for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has approved draft new mandatory standards to reduce the carbon intensity of existing ships. The draft amendments to the MARPOL Convention would require ships to combine a technical and an operational approach to reduce their carbon intensity.

The amendments are in line with the ambition of IMO's initial Greenhouse Gas Strategy, which aims to reduce the carbon intensity of international shipping by 40% by 2030, compared to 2008. The amendments were drafted for the seventh session of the Intersessional Working Group on Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Ships (ISWG-GHG 7), held as a remote meeting from 19 to 23 October 2020.

The draft amendments will now be submitted for official approval at the 76th session of the Committee on Environmental Protection, to be held in 2021.

“Considerable work still lies ahead in implementing the measures, but I am confident that the IMO's spirit of cooperation, demonstrated in recent years, will allow rapid progress in the development of technical guidelines and a carbon intensity code, as well as in the indispensable further work of comprehensive assessment of the impact of the measures in developing countries, small island developing States and least developed countries ”. I express my gratitude to all Member States that have indicated their commitment to supporting these efforts.

IMO Secretary General Mr. Kitack Lim.

He said that the approved amendments were important building blocks without which future discussions on medium and long-term measures would not be possible.

Progress in developing short-term measures is in line with the timetable set out in IMO's initial GHG strategy. The strategy proposed that the short-term measures be the measures finalized and agreed upon by the Committee between 2018 and 2023.

Draft amendments to MARPOL

The draft amendments would add new requirements to the energy efficiency measures in chapter 4 of MARPOL Annex VI. The current requirements are based on the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI), for newly built ships, which means that they have to be built and designed to be more energy efficient than the baseline; and the mandatory Vessel Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) for all vessels. The SEEMP envisions that ship operators have a plan in place to improve energy efficiency through a variety of ship-specific measures.

The draft amendments build on those measures by introducing requirements to assess and measure the energy efficiency of all ships and setting the required achievement values. The goal is to reduce the carbon intensity of international shipping, working to achieve the levels of ambition set out in the IMO's Initial Strategy on Reducing GHG Emissions from Ships.

The set of amendments includes: the technical requirement to reduce carbon intensity, based on a new Energy Efficiency Index for Existing Ships (EEXI); and the operational carbon intensity reduction requirements, based on a new operational carbon intensity indicator (CII).

The dual approach is intended to address both technical measures (the way the ship is adapted and equipped) and operational measures (the way the ship operates).

Achieved and required energy efficiency index of existing vessels (EEXI)

The Existing Ship Energy Efficiency Index (EEXI) must be calculated for ships of 400 gt and over, according to the different values established for ship types and size categories. This indicates the energy efficiency of the ship compared to a baseline.

Ships are required to meet a specific Existing Ship Energy Efficiency Index (EEXI), which is based on a required reduction factor (expressed as a percentage relative to the EEDI baseline).

Annual operational carbon intensity indicator (CII) and CII classification

The draft amendments concern that ships of 5,000 gross tonnage or more (ships that are already subject to the requirement of the data collection system on fuel oil consumption of ships) have determined their annual operational indicator of carbon intensity (CII) required. The CII determines the annual reduction factor necessary to ensure continuous improvement of the ship's operational carbon intensity within a specific classification level.

The actual annual operational CII achieved (Annual operational CII achieved) would need to be documented and verified against the required annual operational CII. This would make it possible to determine the operational carbon intensity classification. The rating would be given on a scale - A, B, C, D or E operational carbon intensity rating - which would indicate a higher higher, lower lower, lower, higher, moderate or lower level of performance. The level of performance would be recorded in the Vessel Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP).

A vessel with a D rating for three consecutive years, or E, would have to submit a corrective action plan, to show how the required index (C or higher) would be achieved.

Administrations, port authorities and other stakeholders, as appropriate, are encouraged to offer incentives to ships classified as A or B.



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