IMO has decided the need to tackle Marpol updates, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions issues and plastic litter are the focus of MEPC 76 and ballast water treatment issues have been deferred to MEPC 77 in February 2022
IMO has shortened the agenda of MEPC 76 (10-17 June 2021) to prioritise urgent matters.
These are: draft amendments to Marpol annexes I, IV and VI and the AFS Convention (item 3), air pollution prevention (item 5), energy efficiency of ships (item 6), reduction of GHG emissions from ships (item 7), plastic litter (item 8), pollution prevention and response (item 9), report from sub-committees (item 10), work programme of committee (item 12) and consideration of committee (item 14).
These means the bulk of item 4, harmful aquatic items in ballast water, will now be considered by correspondence prior to the virtual meeting.
This may or may not result in decisions or comments from the committee on the following items: consideration of compliance monitoring devices (CMDs), review of the ballast water record book (Intertanko et al), findings from the SGS Australia study, China’s comments on draft amendments and an update on the experience building phase (EBP).
The EBP is now also listed as under any other business. The IMO Secretariat will ask that data be submitted to the World Maritime University.
The ballast water items deferred to MEPC 77 include papers submitted on challenging water conditions (turbidity) for ballast water treatment systems and reports on specific ship type (Russia and Turkey).
IMO’s agenda document said "The proposed work arrangements are similar to those for MEPC 75, including proposals for documents to be considered during the virtual meeting, to be considered by correspondence prior to the virtual meeting (including referring to the PPR Sub-Committee) and to be deferred to MEPC 77, as well as proposed arrangements for a virtual drafting group on amendments to mandatory instruments."
In terms of actions to be taken regarding ballast water issues on the IMO agenda, MEPC chair Hideaki Saito has proposed that the Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR) sub-committee consider the ISO’s update on standardisation work for a verification testing protocol for CMDs and advise MEPC on that document as well as on the Chinese delegation’s comments on the draft amendments to the BWM Convention regarding the International Ballast Water Management Certificate form.
The chair has also directed MEPC members to encourage data submissions for the ballast water EBP. Finally, Mr Saito instructed MEPC delegations to familiarise themselves with a number of documents submitted to the committee regarding type approved systems, entries in the ballast water record book, a rapid detailed method for assessing the viability of 10-50 µm phytoplankton in ballast water and Australia’s study evaluating the performance of ballast water management systems installed on board ships against the D-2 standard.
A full list of the documents that will be deferred to MEPC 77 in 2022 for consideration is below.
LIST OF DOCUMENTS TO BE DEFERRED TO MEPC 77
AGENDA ITEM 4 HARMFUL AQUATIC ORGANISMS IN BALLAST WATER
MEPC 76/4 and Corr.1 Liberia BWM circular on application of the BWM Convention to ships operating at ports with challenging water quality
MEPC 76/4/2 Liberia, Republic of Korea, Singapore, BIMCO, ICS and INTERTANKO review of the ballast water record book
MEPC 76/4/4 China Comments on document MEPC 76/4
MEPC 76/4/5 Republic of Korea Comments on the draft BWM circular on application of the BWM Convention to ships operating at ports with challenging water quality
MEPC 76/4/6 Norway Comments on document MEPC 76/4
MEPC 76/4/7 INTERTANKO Comments on document MEPC 76/4 and additional information on reports of ports with challenging water quality
MEPC 76/4/8 Marshall Islands BWM circular on application of the BWM Convention to ships operating at ports with challenging water quality
MEPC 75/4/7 Australia, Canada and New Zealand options for compliance with the BWM Convention
MEPC 75/4/8 Russian Federation Comments on document MEPC 75/4/7
MEPC 74/4/13 Russian Federation Application of the BWM Convention to specific ship types
MEPC 74/4/18 Turkey Retrofitting of specialized ships with ballast water management systems
MEPC 74/4/19 Turkey An example of dimensional challenges arising from retrofitting a ballast water management system for a specialised tug boat
MEPC 74/4/20 Turkey Practical experience in implementation of ballast water management systems for specialized tug boats
Riviera Maritime Media’s Ballast Water Webinar Week begins on 22 June 2021 – use this link for more details and to register