It seems that every New Year brings with it a new set of regulations to challenge tanker owners and operators and while 2021 is no exception, the extraordinary events of 2020 may allow some breathing space
Despite all the fears, as 2020 dawned there was no major pollution disaster directly related to the changeover to low-sulphur marine fuel oil. This had been the worst-case scenario; instead, an entirely unrelated disaster swept the globe in the guise of the Covid-19 coronavirus. New regional regulations were hastily arranged limiting travel, which in themselves have hindered preparations for the regulations being introduced in 2021.
The following details relate to some of these new regulations and explain how they might be applied to, and impact on, tanker operations.
EU Ship Recycling Regulation
From the EU comes a key piece of green ship recycling legislation. From 1 January 2021, there is a requirement for any ship over 500 gt, regardless of flag, to hold a valid, certified Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM) on board if calling at an EU port or anchorage. Non-EU flagged vessels can also be certified against the EU Ship Recycling Regulation by complying with the Hong Kong Convention (HKC) IHM requirements. The IHM provides a structured system to identify and document hazardous materials on board ships and by this, achieves compliance with the EU SRR and HKC for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships.
“The IHM is the key point, without this there is no green safe recycling,” says Global Marketing Systems (GMS) head, research and development, lead coordinator responsible ship recycling Dr Anand Hiremath. “Without an IHM you will not be able to say that the recycling has been conducted in a ‘green’ manner.”
The good news is that as at the end of November 2020, the European Commission (EC) had suggested EU member states apply a harmonised approach for six months after the entry 31 December 2020 into the application of IHM-related obligations for existing EU-flagged ships and non-EU-flagged ships calling at EU ports or anchorages. On this basis, Members will have up until 30 June 2021.
MEPC 74 adopted amendments to the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (IBC Code), including the revised chapters 17 (Summary of minimum requirements), 18 (List of products to which the code does not apply), 19 (Index of Products Carried in Bulk) and 21 (Criteria for assigning carriage requirements for products subject to the IBC Code).
Changes to chapter 17 mean a number of products are going to be subject to Toxic Vapour Detection and listed with a “T” in chapter 17 of the IBC Code. This will require revised certificates immediately upon the entry into force of the amendments to the IBC Code, issuance of the revised Certificate of Fitness for the carriage of Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk and revised Certificate for the Carriage of Noxious Liquid Substances in Bulk for implementation on 1 January 2021.
The amendments to the Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (BCH Code) cross references that of the IBC Code, but for the carriage of chemicals in bulk.
Annex II Reg 13
Marpol Annex II has been amended to include the requirement for the pre-washing of waxy cargoes. This has been introduced due to the appearance of waxy residues on beaches in north west Europe. This has become a mainstream press issue following reports that dog walkers have witnessed their pets dying after consuming the substance. The substance has been referred to as palm oil but is most likely wax.
Consequently, 44 types of vegetable oil, fish oil, animal oils, waxes and their derivatives will be subject to a pre-wash at the port of unloading, which is expected to provide reception facilities. The amendments include a revised standard format for the Procedures and Arrangements (P&A) Manual (Appendix IV of Marpol Annex II), for the inclusion of instructions on how to deal with tank washing. The implementation date is 1 January 2021. The provision of reception facilities and what tankers are to do with the pre-wash is likely to be a contentious issue in 2021.
In 2014, MEPC 66 adopted three resolutions concerning tanker stability. Marpol Annex I – MEPC.248(66), IBC Code - MEPC.250(66), and BCH Code - MEPC.249(66). All three resolutions require new and existing oil and chemical tankers to be fitted with an approved stability instrument capable of verifying compliance with the applicable intact and damage stability requirements.
These new tankers, constructed on or after 1 January 2016, will need to comply on delivery and existing tankers, constructed before 1 January 2016, will need to comply at the first scheduled renewal survey after 1 January 2016 but not later than 1 January 2021.
IRClass (the Indian Registry of Shipping) notes that from a regulatory compliance point MSC 428(98) requires cyber risks to be appropriately addressed through ISM. In addition, tankers are required to comply with TMSA requirements. Tanker owners have the advantage that TMSA is more prescriptive and provides a series of requirements. The two significant sections in TMSA 3 on change management at element 7 and cyber security at element 13 provide high-level guidelines.
Tanker owners have the responsibility to carry out in-depth risk analysis to identify risks and define mitigation measures to minimise the exposure of cyber risk to their critical assets, which would address both Flag and TMSA requirements.
The requirements when implemented, address the following major areas:
To assist the maritime industry in identification of cyber risks and to design a suitable cyber risk management system, Cyber Safety Guidelines based on IEC 27001, IEC 62443 and industry best practices were developed by IRClass, which also provides gap assessment services for identifying existing gaps in technical and procedural controls.
IRClass has carried out gap assessments of a leading tanker service providers and its findings are categorised in two groups, with one group identifying policies and procedures, while the second group focuses on controls. This has helped the company in addressing onboard cyber risks. The regulation comes into force on 1 January 2021.
“Brexit may be push that sends the remaining shipping expertise to Singapore”
2011 ESP Code
From 1 January 2021, the Enhanced Survey Programme (ESP) Code is replaced with the code in the Programme of Inspections During Surveys of Bulk Carriers and Oil Tankers, 2011 (ESP Code) is amended to match the IACS Unified Resolution (URs). The URs are technical resolutions, which are set, revised, and withdrawn by IACS. URs are classification rules established for the uniform implementation among IACS member societies.
NOx Tier III certification
From 1 January 2021, the Emission Control Area (ECA) regulations on NOx emissions from marine diesel engines become active in the Baltic Sea ECA and the North Sea ECA. Only vessels with an Engine International Air Pollution Prevention (EIAPP) Certificate and the subsequent demonstration of in service compliance in accordance with the requirements of the mandatory regulations 13.8 and 5.3.2 respectively, NOx Technical Code 2008 (resolution MEPC.177(58) as amended by resolution MEPC.251.(66)), and classed as Tier III can operate in the ECAs. Tier II is still allowed outside the ECAs.
California: Oil spill prevention and response act
At a local level, California is dramatically increasing the size of oil spill fines. The governor of California approved an act to amend Section 8670.64 of the Government Code, known as the Lempert-Keene-Seastrand Oil Spill Prevention and Response Act. This requires the administrator for oil spill response, acting at the direction of the Governor, to implement activities relating to oil spill response, including emergency drills and preparedness, and oil spill containment and clean-up.
It also makes it a felony to cause a spill in the waters of California or fail to clean up or stop the spill. In 2020, the level of fines ranges from US$5,000 per day to a maximum of US$500,000 per day.
Under the amendment, a person convicted of violating any of the above prohibited acts shall be subjected to a fine ranging from US$10,000 to US$1,000,000 for each violation, with each day or partial day of a violation being considered a separate violation.
In addition, the legislation allows the court to impose a further US$1,000 fine per gallon of oil spilt in excess of 1,000 gallons.
The Merchant Shipping (Consequential Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020
Finally, there is the great British gamble of Brexit. For many working and living in the shipbrokers and commodity trading houses in the City of London, Brexit may be push that sends the remaining shipping expertise to Singapore. Shipping has been singled out under the Brexit legislation in the form of the Merchant Shipping (Consequential Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020. It aims to maintain the status quo, but Hamburg, Copenhagen, Dublin, and Paris (in that order) are attractive alternatives for tanker companies needing a base in the EU.