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IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim kicks off MEPC 80. Photo courtesy IMO

IMO MEPC 80: Day 1

Barry Parker
Total Views: 2256
July 3, 2023

Barry Parker (gCaptain) –

The International Maritime Organization’s MEPC 80 meeting kicked off Monday morning at the IMO headquarters in London, with some delegates participating virtually.

The main task of revising the IMO’s strategy for shipping decarbonization (the reduction of Greenhouse Gasses, or GHG) is in the hands of the Intersessional Working Group on Reducing GHG, chaired by Norway’s Sveinung Oftedal, which met during week prior to MEPC 80 and will continue its deliberations, meeting each day separately from the Plenary meetings.

By the end of the week, when MEPC 80 is set to wrap up, the Working Group, which will have hopefully ironed out the nuts and bolts of the new strategy, will present its results to the broader assemblage.  

In brief remarks on Monday summarizing its progress, it was suggested that the Working Group was far along on establishing technical standards for fuels, but still working its way through economic issues, such as questions of who will be paying for the transition, and how payments will flow.

In remarks from various delegates at the Monday MEPC session, the notion of a “levy” on fuel, a mechanism for incentivizing a move to lower (or zero) carbon fuels, was mentioned multiple times. Indeed, a report prepared by the Intersessional Working Group at the end of last week indicated that some of its participants supported the idea of a universal charge on carbon emissions from marine fuels. Importantly, those participants favoring that approach emphasized that “emissions” need to be looked at on a “well to wake” basis, which means considering the GHG’s resulting from the production of the fuel as well as the emissions from actually burning those fuels to power vessels.

MEPC 80 will be considering other topics besides GHG reduction; these include ballast water treatment  (a review of the existing Ballast Water Management convention), marine litter, and marine noise. One topic frequently in the news in recent months, Ship to Ship transfers, is also set to receive attention. The IMO notes that: “The Committee is expected to discuss a document aiming to raise awareness on the potential environmental risks and the consequences and concerns for the global marine pollution prevention and liability and compensation regimes relating to the increase in ship-to-ship transfers at sea. A draft Assembly resolution is proposed.”

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