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New energy efficiency regulations for ships make debut


Container ship

Container ship

IMO urges more states to ratify London protocol
Three new guidelines that will support states to effectively implement the mandatory energy-efficiency measures for shipping have been rolled out by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

This is coming as the organisation urged governments to ratify the London Protocol treaty, which regulates the dumping of wastes at sea in order to ensure the universal application of its precautionary approach towards protection of the marine environment.

The new guideline was adopted during training under the Global Environment Facility (GEF)-United Nations Development Program (UNDP)-International Maritime Organization (IMO) GloMEEP Project, paving the way for further work in climate change mitigation by the maritime sector.

The three draft guides, which have been specifically developed under IMO’s GloMEEP Project in collaboration with IMarEST, aim to support developing countries in strengthening and developing national regulatory frameworks related to the prevention of air pollution and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships.

The guides are: Rapid Assessment Guide for determining the country’s maritime energy efficiency and emissions status (Guide 1); Guide for maritime energy efficiency strategy development (Guide 2); and Guide for incorporation of MARPOL Annex VI into national law (Guide 3).

MARPOL Annex VI includes the energy-efficiency regulations for international shipping requiring new ships (since 2013) to be built to be substantially more energy-efficient than a baseline and existing ships to carry a ship energy efficiency management plan.

The GloMEEP Project has earmarked a significant portion of its project resources, including in-kind support from participating countries, towards development of these guides and this training. It is expected that this training will lay the foundation for further work in the GloMEEP countries and that the lessons learned and output of the national activities will serve as examples for other countries who plan to undergo similar processes to support effective implementation of MARPOL Annex VI.

The London Protocol, which currently has 47 contracting states and has been in force since 2006, prohibits all dumping of wastes and other matters at sea, except for those on an approved list, which may be assessed and considered for dumping, such as dredged material, fish wastes and inert, inorganic material such as rocks and gravel from excavations.

Since its adoption and entry into force, parties to the London Protocol have adopted amendments to extend permitted wastes to cover activities related to climate change mitigation.

These include the issuing of permits for carbon dioxide sequestration in stable geological formations in the seabed to ensure permanent isolation of carbon dioxide and strong controls to regulate marine geo-engineering activities – which can involve the introduction of substances or organisms into the sea in order to stimulate carbon dioxide uptake and reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In line with the precautionary approach, marine geo-engineering activities such as ocean fertilization, are limited at present to research activities only.

Referring to the 20th anniversary since the adoption of the London Protocol, Secretary-General, IMO, Kitack Lim, said the “mandatory waste assessments” and “precautionary approach” principles adopted into the treaty had now been fully embraced but there was still work to be done, which would support the global aspirations set in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals.

“I will continue to urge all IMO member governments to ratify the Protocol. This will extend and complete the task that the Parties set out to achieve and to enhance the protection of the marine environment for current and future generations,” Lim said.

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