MEPC adopts MARPOL revisions

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The IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) has formally adopted the changes to Marpol Annex VI, in a move labelled ‘historic’ by IMO Secretary-General Efthimios Mitropoulos. The stricter emissions standards hope to see heavy fuel oils eventually phased out completely in the commitment to creating a ‘greener’ shipping industry.

“I am confident that, once adopted as amendments to Marpol Annex VI in the coming October, the new measures will prove extremely beneficial to the environment. It will certainly be one of IMO’s finest hours when this happens six months from now,” said Mr Mitropoulos.

Rendered a “magnificent and monumental adoption” by MEPC chairman Andreas Chrysostomou, the IMO regulation addresses the reduction of harmful emissions from ships. In what Mr Chrysostomou described as “adopting an historic agreement,” the new IMO regulations will cut maximum sulphur dioxide emissions from 4.5% to 3.5% from 2012.

With future aim to drop maximum levels to 0.5% from 2020 and additional progressive reductions in nitrogen oxide, the commitment to environmental preservation is high on the agenda for the IMO. Supplementary adoption of numerous other ‘green’ items including ship recycling, anti-fouling and ballast water treatment systems fortified environmental standards to be set across the shipping industry.

The initial draft received full plenary endorsement at the MEPC’s 58th session, and the consensus of the MARPOL Annex VI revision hopes to generate a significant global regulatory instrument in the effort to address shipping’s greenhouse gas emissions, amongst tackling other pressing environmental issues facing the industry.