The fourth session of the IMO Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR 4) met in London from 16 to 20 January 2017. This report gives a brief overview of most important items, which were debated.
Implementation of 0.50% sulphur limit in 2020
When the MEPC 70 decided in October 2016 to retain the enforcement date of 1 January 2020 for the 0.50% sulphur limit, it recognised that the global oil refinery and shipping industries would face monumental challenges from a global overnight shift from high sulphur fuels to the new 0.50% fuels to So the committee decided as a matter of urgency to instruct the PPR sub-committee to submit a paper on effective implementation of the sulphur limit to the next MEPC.
BIMCO, ICS, INTERTANKO, INTERCARGO, IPTA, CLIA and WSC submitted a joint paper to PPR outlining a proposal to scope the work to be undertaken between now and 2020 according to four broad categories of relevant issues.
The PPR sub-committee agreed with industry’s proposal and the agreed draft new work output will be presented to MEPC with full recognition and alignment with the wishes of the shipping industry.
The industry group has also decided that work should continue under the chairmanship of BIMCO.
Discharge of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) bleed-off water
PPR finalised draft guidelines for the discharge of bleed-off water from EGR, which may be installed on board to reduce NOx output. The guidelines set out criteria for when the EGR bleed-off water may (and may not) be discharged into the sea. In general, it depends on the fuel type and where the ship is operating. The residues from the bleed-off water treatment systems should, however, always be delivered to adequate reception facilities ashore, as such residues should not be discharged to the sea or incinerated on board.
Like many other systems on board, ships fitted with an EGR unit should record the storage and disposal of the waste water residues in a record book stipulating date, time and location of such storage and disposal.
The guidelines will now be forwarded to MEPC in July 2017 for adoption.
Black carbon emissions from ships
Based on several submissions related to the voluntary measurements protocol to collect data on black carbon (BC) emissions from ships, PPR 4 emphasised the need for BC measurement studies to be conducted so as to gain experience with the application of the definition and measurement methods. Such experience would allow comparison of the measurement methods and an assessment of the scale of possible variation in the data collected.
PPR 4 developed a tentative time plan for future work on this item, keeping in mind that owing to lack of data it was not possible to consider possible control measures for reducing the impact of BC emissions on the Arctic of emissions from international shipping.
After identifying the most appropriate method for measurement of black carbon, PPR will analyse future data and if necessary develop control measures to reduce the BC emission impact from international shipping.
New requirements for certification of engines fitted with SCR systems
PPR 4 also developed draft guidelines to the 2008 NOx Technical Code addressing the use of Scheme A or Scheme B for approval and certification of a marine diesel engine fitted with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) systems.
According to the NOx Technical Code, the engine system fitted with SCR has to be tested on a test bed (Scheme A). Where it is not appropriate to do the certification on a test bed due to technical or practical reasons, the engine/SCR system can be certified on board (Scheme B).
PPR 4 decided to change previous practice for the two Schemes to make them equally applicable. This required an amendment to the 2008 NOx Technical Code.
The guidelines will be forwarded to MEPC in July 2017 for adoption, whereas the amendments to the Code are likely to be adopted at MEPC 73 in 2018.
Multiple engine operational profiles
PPR 4 agreed to establish a new agenda item related to the use of multiple Engine Operation Profiles (so-called MAP’s) with the aim to develop guidelines on this matter.
New engines normally have the possibility of using electronic engine management systems, whereby the start and duration/end of injection can be selected independent of each other and also variable rail pressure control arrangements can be controlled. The fuel injection controls can also be combined with injector switching, inlet/exhaust valve timing including charge air or exhaust bypass/wastegate settings.
The question is, however, whether this should be allowed, and if so, what regulatory controls should be applied, noting that these may also need to include amendments to MARPOL Annex VI and the NOx Technical Code. The guidelines will define if and when switching between MAPs is allowed and at what frequency. The work will start at the next meeting of PPR in spring 2018.
Working Group on International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (IBC)
PPR also worked on revising the IBC, and in particular chapters 17 (Summary of minimum requirements), chapter 18 (List of products to which the code does not apply) and chapter 21 (Criteria for assigning carriage requirements for products subject to the IBC Code).
The review aimed to harmonize the requirements for individual substances with the UN Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) and the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP) hazard evaluation procedure for chemical substances carried by ships.
The amendments will be forwarded to MEPC for approval.
Ballast Water Management for ships
PPR 4 was presented with documents related to sampling and analysis and contingency measures, which need to be solved before the Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention enters into force on 8 September 2017. PPR 4 considered several editorials and amendments, and subsequently forwarded the documents to MEPC for further consideration in July 2017.
The work on the draft "Ballast Water Management – How to do it" manual was completed. Even though these guidelines are aimed at IMO Member States, BIMCO has been involved in the draft of the manual as co-writer on the chapters concerning shipowners. The manual will be important especially for the use of Port State Control Officers. The manual is expected to be adopted at MEPC 71 for publication later in 2017 or early 2018.
The drafting group also had discussions relating to: Chemical treatment, retention of the BWM record book and preparation of a BWM circular on “Guidance on methodologies that may be used for determining viability of organism”.