IMO approves draft amendments to MARPOL Convention to cut ship carbon emissions

IMO approves draft amendments to MARPOL Convention to cut ship carbon emissions | BDM Blog | BDM Law

Whilst all eyes in the UK are on Boris Johnson’s recent announcement to bring forward the ban on sales of diesel and petrol vehicles to 2030, ship owners will be taking note of recent IMO proposals to amend the MARPOL Convention. These changes would force ship owners to comply with new, drastically lower, carbon emission regulations by the same date.

Shipping is under fire by environmentalists, with some scientists estimating that the industry produces about a billion tonnes of CO2 emissions each year – around 3% of the global total CO2 emissions.

The IMO amendments would require ships to use a combination of technical innovations and an operational approach to reduce the carbon emissions by 40% by 2030, compared to 2008.

Ship owners and operators are wary of compliance with MARPOL.  We have been involved in a number of MARPOL investigations and the potential penalties for infringement are substantial.

The IMO plans would add further requirements to MARPOL Annex VI chapter 4, under which newbuild ships should be designed and constructed in an energy efficient manner. This would also require ship operators to have in place a mandatory Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan to improve energy efficiency through a variety of ship specific operational measures.

If put in place, the new proposals will add to the level of compliance required by ship owners.  Ships may need to have annual carbon intensity indicators which can be checked so that carbon performance can be monitored.   That paves the way for sanctions if the required levels are not met, so MARPOL investigations are only likely to increase in the future.

The proposed amendments will be put forward at the next session of the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee to be held in 2021.  We will let you know if they come into force and we will be watching closely for industry reaction.

More information can be found on the IMO website:

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