Convening between 17-21 February 2020, the 7th session of the Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR7) agreed the Guidelines covering the sampling of fuel oil in bunker tanks. This is seen as an important factor in policing the carriage ban of fuel oils with sulphur content above 0.5% that is set to be introduced by regulation 14.1 of MARPOL Annex VI from 1 March 2020, except in cases that a ship has approved equivalent compliance mechanisms such as an Exhaust Gas Cleaning System.
The Sub-Committee further agreed the revised Exhaust Gas Cleaning System Guidelines. While these Guidelines do not add any new basic requirements in terms of emissions to air or to sea, they do provide considerable additional detail as to how compliance is to be demonstrated. The Guidelines were extended in scope to cover ‘dry’ systems, thereby covering all post-combustion SOx control measures.
Additionally, PPR7 agreed on draft amendments to MARPOL Annex I to incorporate a prohibition on the carriage and use in Arctic waters of, amongst other hydrocarbons, fuel oils above either 180 cSt at 50°C viscosity or 900 kg/m3 at 15°C density. Currently, the draft text gives an entry into force from July 2024 or, in the case of ships meeting the regulation 12A requirements, July 2029 – although there are provisions for temporary waivers in certain cases.
These three documents now go to the Marine Environment Protection Committee for further consideration.
PPR continues to work on issues related with the impact of Black Carbon on the Arctic from international shipping, recognising that these emissions are the result of multiple complex and interconnected processes covering both the fuel used and the combustion machinery in which it is utilised.
Amongst other aspects, the certification requirements in respect of thermal waste treatment devices which are not incinerators are yet to be addressed. Such devices are increasingly being used, particularly on cruise ships, to cover their garbage and sewage disposal needs.
If you would like to follow the continuing discussions on emissions, you may also be interested to join our Marine Fuels and Emissions Special Interest Group as a corresponding member.