The opening remarks expressed condolences to Ecuador and Japan following their recent earthquakes and loss of life.
The IFSMA Delegation consisted of four delegates, Paul Owen, Allan Graveson, David Appleton and Jim Scorer.
Many of the items discussed at the Committee were of a technical nature and will not be of interest to the mariner until any associated measures are formally implemented.
Several groups were formed during the Committee, namely:
• Working Group 1 on Air Pollution and Energy
• Working Group 2 on Further Technical and Operation Measures
• Drafting Group on Amendments to Mandatory Instruments
• Review Group on Ballast Water Management
• Technical Group on PSSAs
The IMO Secretary General, Kitack Lim, addressed the opening of the meeting and included the following: “IMO currently faces an array of issues demanding high-level policy development. These include safety issues such as unsafe and mixed migration by sea; domestic ferry safety; and the smooth implementation of the Mandatory Audit Scheme but we are also facing ever-more complex environmental challenges, such as further work to address greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping in light of the Paris Agreement; the sulphur regulation in 2020 which you are currently reviewing; and the implementation of the Ballast Water Management and Hong Kong Conventions.
My vision is one of strengthened partnerships – between developing and developed countries, between governments and industry, between IMO Member States and regions. I will endeavour to strengthen communication between the maritime industry and the general public and see IMO acting as a bridge between all these stakeholders in what I have referred to as "a voyage together". With the collective wisdom and insight of IMO Member States and other involved parties, I am confident we can meet these challenges. And also, I would like to take this opportunity to extend my wholehearted appreciation to you all, Member States, industry, IGOs and NGOs, media and IMO Secretariat for the dedication and achievements to date for the Organization, which we are all highly proud of.”
Ballast Water Management
Regarding the Ballast Water Management Convention, to date 49 States with an aggregate of 34.79% of the world’s merchant fleet tonnage have acceded to the Convention. The entry into force condition of 35% is now tantalizingly close, with entry into force is anticipated during 2017. Peru announced that they will soon deposit the instrument for accession to the BWM Convention with IMO.
Discussion for this agenda item focused mainly of the type approval of Ballast Water Management Systems and Guidelines for Ballast Water Management. Final type approval was granted to three systems, there are now 65 BWMS type approved.
The Ballast Water Review Group had extensive discussions and agreed to re-establish the intersessional working group to continue consideration of their deliberations.Even though the BWM Convention has not yet come into force, amendments are already being considered.
The discharge of sewage from passenger ships in the Baltic Sea Special Area was considered, in particular the availability of reception facilities and when passenger ships could discharge into the sea and when they could not. The necessary amendments to regulations 1 and 11 and to the appendix to MARPOL Annex IV will enter into force on 1st September 2017.
Garbage Record Book
Amendments to the information required to be recorded were considered, it should include accidental and lost garbage. It was agreed that E-Waste needs an agreed definition if it is to be included.
Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI)
The Committee agreed to establish an EEDI database to assist the Organization in its future reviews of technological development and to the minimum data to be included in the database. MEPC 67 had established a Correspondence Group on EEDI review, under the coordination of Japan, in order to review the status of technological developments relevant to implementing phase 2 of the EEDI regulations. A summary of data and information currently contained in the EEDI database was presented to the Committee, they requested the Secretariat to continue submitting this information to the Committee.
IFSMA made the following intervention on this subject "Thank you Chair. IFSMA, representing ship masters, respectfully draws attention to the potential for ships to have insufficient power with the adoption of the EEDI; this is particularly so in close manoeuvring situations in rivers and harbours and in adverse weather conditions. We ask this Committee to take note of our concerns and for this intervention to be included in the Report of this Committee." There was much support for intervention from Members States and NGOs.
Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas (PSSA)
The Tubbataha Reef Natural Park in the Sulu Sea, Philippines, was supported as a PSSA. This will now be passed to the Marine Safety Committee for further action.The International Whaling Commission announced that the adjustment of traffic lanes to protect migratory routes of whales had been particularly successful in preventing whales from being injured or killed from collision with ships. They requested that ships report to them any collision with whales so that statistics could be gathered and further measure taken to protect whales.
This was a very busy meeting with a plenary session held every day. In the afternoon on Tuesday 19th April we were privileged to receive the Indonesian President, Joko Widodo, who visited IMO and addressed the Committee, his English was excellent, he updated us on the Maritime situation in Indonesia.
As always, the final report of this committee, on the IMO documents website, should be read to see the details of everything that took place during MEPC 69.