3/20/2018: Recap of the 5th Session of the IMO Sub-Committee on Pollution, Prevention and Response

The 5th session of the International Maritime Organization’s Sub-Committee on Pollution, Prevention and Response (PPR 5) was held at IMO Headquarters in London from February 5-9, 2018. The U.S. delegation was led by Capt. Scott Kelly, chief of the Office of Operating and Environmental Standards.

The Air Quality Working Group was chaired by the U.S. Coast Guard’s Mr. Wayne Lundy. This working group finalized the reporting protocol for voluntary measurement studies to collect Black Carbon data and identified the most appropriate Black Carbon measurement methods: Filter Smoke Number, Photo Acoustic Spectroscopy, and Laser Induced Incandescence. PPR also agreed on draft amendments to MARPOL Annex VI for a prohibition on the carriage of non-compliant fuel oil for combustion purpose, with a sulphur content exceeding 0.50 percent. This advances the IMO effort to reduce sulphur oxide emissions from ships to improve air quality and protect the environment. The 0.50 percent limit on sulphur in fuel onboard ships will come into effect Jan. 1, 2020. PPR also agreed on draft 2018 Guidelines for the discharge of exhaust gas recirculation bleed-off water, for submission with a view to adoption at the Marine Environmental Protection Committee’s (MEPC) 73rd session.

The Ballast Water Management Working Group agreed to draft guidance on system design limitations of ballast water management systems and their monitoring for submission to MEPC 73, with a view to approval. Based on input from this working group, the Sub-Committee invited submissions to PPR 6 regarding specific examples of contingency measures in cases where a ballast water management system may be inoperable and draft guidance for ports with challenging water quality.

The Evaluation and Safety of Pollution Hazards of Chemical Working Group, having previously completed the revision of Chapter 21 of the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk Code (IBC), finalized the review of the impact and changes this will have on the product tables in Chapter 17 and 18 of the Code. The revised Chapters 17, 18, 19 and 21 of the IBC Code are expected to come into force Jan. 1, 2021.

The Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation Drafting Group, led by the United States, successfully finished the Sub-sea Dispersant Application Guidelines, presenting both guidelines and a framework for countries to develop national policy on utilizing and applying sub-sea dispersants.

Based on a paper submitted by the United States, the Sub-Committee agreed on guidelines for the application of MARPOL Annex I requirements to floating production, storage and offloading facilities and floating storage units, for submission to MEPC 73, for consideration, with a view to adoption.

The Subcommittee also considered the use of an Electronic Record Book, approved by the Administration, in lieu of the required hard copy record book. The U.S. agreed that there are many benefits to Electronic Record Books, however, they contested that until mandatory technical requirements are developed that provide the same level of security and reliability, it would not be prudent to move forward. The majority did not agree and PPR 5 decided to move forward with draft Guidelines for the use of Electronic Record Books under MARPOL. Draft MARPOL amendments will be submitted to MEPC 73 for consideration, with a view to adoption at MEPC 74.

A full summary of the 5th Session of the Sub-Committee on Pollution, Prevention and Response can be found on IMO’s website.

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

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