ICS submits proposals for ‘critical’ IMO meeting

In its role as representative of shipowner interests, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) says its “immediate priority” is to help ensure the new global CO2 data collection system now before the MEPC is adopted “as soon as possible”. Otherwise, inactivity at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) level could mean that unilateral systems are imposed by regional blocs on international shipping instead, it warns.

In particular, the EU has already adopted a system for monitoring, reporting and verification of ship emissions that it may seek to develop into “a regional system of mandatory operational efficiency indexing of individual ships’, which the ICS believes “will lead to serious market distortion”.

ICS secretary general Peter Hinchliffe says the currently proposed global CO2 data collection system represents a “workable compromise” that would then enable “the possible development of additional CO2 reduction measures”.

Indeed, in a separate submission the ICS suggests that shipping should follow the lead taken by nations which signed the ground-breaking Paris Agreement on carbon reduction in December. It proposes that the IMO develop an “Intended IMO Determined Contribution for C02 reduction on behalf of the sector” – thereby mirroring countries’ Intended National Determined Contributions (INDCs).

Such a move would also be in line with the Marshall Islands government’s’ call last year that the IMO set definite limits for the reduction of shipping’s CO2 emissions, a proposal deferred for discussion until this month’s MEPC meeting.

In addition, the ICS is calling for the MEPC meeting to address outstanding implementation issues affecting the Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention, including finalisation of the IMO type-approval Guidelines for treatment equipment that shipowners will be required once the Convention enters force – which it says will “almost certainly” happen before end-2017.

And finally the ICS is also calling for an early decision on whether the global sulphur cap of 0,5% sulphur content in fuel will indeed be implemented in 2020, or deferred until 2025 because of lack of availability of sufficient quantities of compliant fuel.

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