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All Eyes on IMO’s MEPC78

Barry Parker
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May 25, 2022

All eyes will be on the International Maritime Organization (IMO) when its Maritime Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC) convenes virtually next month for its MEPC78 meeting (June 6 – 10).

Though the big meetings garner all the attention, a great deal of the work (for the MEPC, but also for other committees) is done behind the scenes by “Intersessional Working Groups”. The idea is to have experts work through problems under consideration, to consider various opinions from Member States and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) which are presented through written submissions, and then come up with recommendations to be debated and voted on. 

The matters under consideration, relating to alternative maritime fuels, the appropriate vessel propulsion systems and the broader infrastructures for getting the new fuels to the vessels, are top of mind for everyone in the maritime business.

The IMO has reported out that the Intersessional Working Group on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships (ISWG-GHG 12), in discussions concluded during May 16 – 20, has finalized guidelines to support implementation of carbon intensity measures and has agreed to further develop a “basket of candidate mid-term measures” including technical and carbon-pricing elements. This work will support the technical (EEXI) and carbon (CII) rules that come into effect seven months out- in January, 2023. The IMO says that the ISWG mid-May meeting (also virtual) “was attended by more than 430 participants from some 80 Member States, as well as from NGOS in consultative status with IMO.”

So what did the experts come up with? The list is a long one:

  • 2022 Guidelines for the development of a Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP)
  • Guidelines for the verification and company audits by the Administration of Part III of the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP)
  • 2022 Guidelines for Administration verification of ship fuel oil consumption data and operational carbon intensity
  • 2022 Guidelines for the development and management of the IMO Ship Fuel Oil Consumption Database
  • Guidance for the submission of data to the IMO data collection system from a State not Party to MARPOL Annex VI
  • 2022 Guidelines on the method of calculation of the attained Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI)
  • 2022 Guidelines on survey and certification of the attained Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI)
  • Guidance on methods, procedures and verification of in-service performance measurements for EEXI calculation
  • 2022 Interim Guidelines on Correction Factors and Voyage Adjustments for CII Calculations (CII Guidelines, G5)
  • 2022 Guidelines on Operational Carbon Intensity Indicators and the Calculation Methods (CII Guidelines, G1)
  • 2022 Guidelines on the Reference Lines for use with Operation Carbon Intensity Indicators (CII Reference Lines Guidelines, G2)
  • 2022 Guidelines on the Operational Carbon Intensity Rating of Ships (CII Rating Guidelines, G4).

A report detailing a previous meeting, freely available online- and detailing items considered earlier in the year, provides additional clues. These findings will also be considered at MEPC78. 

The lengthy list above is mainly about fine-tuning the new rules taking effect on January 1, 2023. But the ISWG-GHG 12 also looked farther out into the future, into “the Medium term” (IMO-speak for “beyond 2030”). The Working Group has been thinking about what the IMO calls “a basket of candidate mid-term measures” and is getting organized to grapple with navigating a course towards decarbonized shipping. 

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