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BUNKER INDEX :: Price Index, News and Directory Information for the Marine Fuel Industry
Home » News

Bunker issues pack MEPC 71 agenda

Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) meets in London.

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Updated on 03 Jul 2017 08:25 GMT

The International Maritime Organization's (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) is meeting for its 71st session in London between July 3-7.

During the meeting, a number of bunker-related issues are scheduled to be discussed, including the mandatory data collection system for the fuel oil consumption of ships, bunker delivery note amendments, the implementation of the global sulphur limit in 2020, and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships.

A summary of the key issues has been provided below.


Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), 71st session

Chair: Mr. Arsenio Dominguez (Panama)

When and where?

July 3-7, 2017, at IMO Headquarters in London.


Mandatory data collection system for fuel oil consumption of ships

MARPOL amendments to make mandatory the data collection system for fuel oil consumption of ships were adopted at the last session and are expected to enter into force on 1 March 2018. They require data collection to start from calendar year 2019.

MEPC 71 will consider draft guidelines on Administration data verification procedures and on the development and management of the IMO Ship Fuel Oil Consumption Database, developed by a correspondence group. It will also have for consideration a review conducted by the IMO Secretariat on technical and security issues identified with regard to the establishment of the database.

Prevention of air pollution

The MEPC will continue its work to protect human health and the environment from air pollution from international shipping, including updating and implementation of the relevant regulations in MARPOL Annex VI.

Designation of North Sea and Baltic Sea as NOx emission control areas

The MEPC is expected to consider for adoption draft amendments to designate the North Sea and the Baltic Sea as emission control areas (ECAs) for nitrogen oxides (NOX) under regulation 13 of MARPOL Annex VI. Both ECAs would take effect on 1 January 2021.

Designation as a NOX ECA would require marine diesel engines to meet Tier III NOX emission levels when installed on ships constructed on or after 1 January 2021 and operating in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. Further provisions, if adopted, would allow ships fitted with non-Tier III compliant marine diesel engines to be built, converted, repaired and/or maintained at shipyards located in the NOX Tier III ECAs. Both areas are already ECAs for control of emissions of sulphur oxides (SOX).

Bunker delivery note amendments

The MEPC is expected to consider for adoption draft amendments to the information to be included in the bunker delivery note relating to the supply of marine fuel oil to ships which have fitted alternative mechanisms to address sulphur emissions requirements.

This is aimed at addressing situations where the fuel oil supplied does not meet low sulphur requirements, but has been supplied to a ship which is using "equivalent means" (for example, abatement technology such as scrubbers) to reduce the SOx emissions of the ship in order to comply with MARPOL requirements.

Implementation of the global sulphur limit

MEPC 70 decided that the global limit of the sulphur content of ships' fuel oil will be 0.50% m/m from 1 January 2020.

This limit is prescribed in regulation 14.1.3 of MARPOL Annex VI. MEPC 71 is expected to approve a proposed new output on "Consistent implementation of regulation 14.1.3 of MARPOL Annex VI" prepared by the Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR) at its fourth session, with a view to completion of the work by 2019.

The proposed work would be aimed at exploring what actions may be taken to ensure consistent and effective implementation of the 0.50% m/m sulphur limit for fuel oil used by ships operating outside designated SOX Emission Control Areas and/or not making use of equivalent means such as Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems, as well as actions that may facilitate the implementation of effective policies by IMO Member States.

Regulation 14.3.1 of MARPOL Annex VI sets a 0.50% m/m limit of the sulphur content of fuel oil used on board ships from 1 January 2020, down from 3.50% m/m currently. In emission control areas (ECAs) the limit is 0.10% m/m.

Measures to reduce risks of use and carriage of heavy fuel oil as fuel by ships in Arctic

The MEPC will consider a proposal to include a new output in its work programme to develop measures to reduce risks of use and carriage of heavy fuel oil (HFO) as fuel by ships in Arctic waters.

The proposal, submitted by a number of countries, suggests consideration of a range of options, including ship design and equipment for both new and existing ships, operating constraints, and restricting or phasing out the use of particular types of fuels in all or parts of Arctic waters.

The introduction of the 0.50% sulphur limit globally is anticipated to reduce the amount of heavy fuel oil used. But it is not expected to limit its use, since ships can be authorized by the flag State to use alternative means, such as scrubbers, to meet the sulphur limit.

Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships

The MEPC is expected to continue to build on the work the IMO has undertaken to address greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping. Energy-efficiency design standards for new ships and associated operational energy efficiency measures for existing ships became mandatory in 2013, with the entry into force of relevant amendments to MARPOL Annex VI. The Committee will be informed that nearly 2,500 new ocean-going ships have been certified as complying with the energy efficiency standards.

The Intersessional Working Group on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships, which holds its first meeting 26-30 June, will provide a report to MEPC 71 which will form the basis for further deliberation in relation to the elements set out in the Roadmap for developing a comprehensive IMO strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships agreed at MEPC 70. An initial IMO GHG strategy is set to be adopted at MEPC 72 in spring 2018, including, inter alia, a list of candidate short-, mid- and long term further measures with possible timelines.

Energy efficiency requirements

Following the completion of the review of the status of technological developments relevant to implementing phase 2 of the EEDI requirements from 2020, the MEPC will consider a proposal to review the requirements for ro-ro cargo and ro-ro passenger ships. The MEPC will also consider the development of a possible methodology to review the EEDI requirements beyond phase 2.

Other technical proposals under consideration relate to: minimum propulsion power to maintain the manoeuvrability of ships in adverse conditions; EEDI correction factors for ice class ships; and EEDI reduction factors for existing ships which have undergone major conversion.

Guidelines for exhaust gas recirculation bleed-off water

MEPC 71 will consider, for adoption, draft Guidelines for the discharge of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) bleed-off water. While the Guidelines are recommendatory in nature, Administrations are invited to base their implementation on them. Regulation 13.5.1 of MARPOL Annex VI requires marine diesel engines on certain ships operating in NOX ECAs to meet to meet Tier III NOX emission levels. EGR is an internal engine process resulting in NOX reduction. Bleed-off water should be handled differently, depending on the fuel oil sulphur content. EGR may also be used as a Tier II compliance option.

Draft 2017 SCR Guidelines

MEPC 71 will consider, for adoption, draft 2017 Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system Guidelines. Administrations will be invited to take these Guidelines into account when certifying engines fitted with SCR, a type of NOX-reducing device envisaged in the NOX Technical Code 2008 (NTC 2008).

Designation of Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park as a PSSA

The MEPC will consider the final designation of the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, situated in the Sulu Sea, Philippines as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA), following the adoption by the Maritime Safety Committee of a new Area to be avoided as an associated protective measure. The aim is to reduce the risk of ship groundings in the park, thereby preventing any resulting marine pollution and damage to the fragile coral reef ecosystem, as well as ensuring the sustainability of local artisanal fisheries.

Draft oil pollution model courses for approval

Draft updated IMO Model Courses on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Cooperation (OPRC Model Training Courses), prepared by PPR 4, will be considered by the MEPC.

The OPRC Model training courses have been revised to provide up to date guidance for preparedness and response to marine oil spills.

There are four courses in the series, which comprise an Introductory Level - aimed at providing a general introduction and awareness to oil spill preparedness and response; Level 1 (Operational) - aimed at Team Leaders, First Responders and all those working in the field during a response; Level 2 (Tactical) - aimed at Incident Managers, On-Scene Commanders, Supervisors and those working in an incident command centre or managing a response operation; and Level 3 (Strategic) - aimed at administrators and senior managers with responsibility for determining preparedness levels and developing strategy in the response to a marine oil spill.

Technical cooperation projects

The European Union-funded Global MTCC Network (GMN) Project has successfully established maritime technology cooperation centres (MTTC) in the five target regions Asia, Africa, Caribbean, Latin America and Pacific. With the goal to support the move towards low-carbon shipping, the MTTCs will focus on capacity building efforts and implementation of pilot projects involving fuel oil consumption data collection and low-carbon technologies in the regions.

Meeting information


All 172 IMO Member States and three Associate Members may attend as well as all Parties to MARPOL. Intergovernmental organizations and international non-governmental organizations are also invited.


Morning, 09.30-12.30 (break: 11:00-11:30); afternoon, 14.30-17:30 (break 16:00-16:30)


Amendments are expected to be adopted on Friday.

Final report and working group reports are expected to be approved on Friday.

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