IMO meeting discusses implementation: IBIA report from III 4

IBIA attended the 4th session of the Sub-Committee on Implementation of IMO Instruments (III 4) to monitor developments as issues surrounding this area is taking on particular relevance with the 2020 sulphur limit coming up, and our industry is concerned about whether the global sulphur limit will be effectively enforced. There were two items on the agenda that IBIA paid particular attention to:

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Agenda Item 3: Consideration and analysis of reports on alleged inadequacy of port reception facilities and agenda Item 5: Measures to harmonize port State control (PSC) activities and procedures worldwide.

Agenda Item 3: Consideration and analysis of reports on alleged inadequacy of port reception facilities (PRFs)

The ability of ships to comply with the discharge requirements of MARPOL depends largely on the availability of adequate port reception facilities (PRFs). Countries that are parties to MARPOL and its annexes are obliged to notify the IMO, using the Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS), all cases where the facilities are alleged to be inadequate.

During 2016, eight Parties to MARPOL and one territory of the United Kingdom reported a total of 70 cases of alleged PRF inadequacies which, except for one report were posted in GISIS. Port States with the highest number of reported alleged inadequacies of port reception facilities in 2016 were United States (14 reports), Mexico (seven reports), China (four reports) and Dominican Republic (four reports).

During plenary discussion, it was noted that members states are not very good at reporting alleged PRF inadequacies to GISIS, despite this being a requirement, and that the problem of inadequate PRFs is much greater than the GISIS data indicate.

One country wanted an explanation as to why it had been listed as levying unreasonable charges for use of PRF facilities, which the Secretariat explained is based on what flag states report on GISIS.

A paper was put forward to III 4 by INTERCARGO and InterManager with feedback from their members on the availability and adequacy of port reception facilities (PRFs) for cargo residues classified harmful to the marine environment and cargo hold washings containing such residues, making it clear that their members have found a significant lack of such facilities.

It proposed that flag States should be encouraged to make every effort to request reports from ships and to report alleged inadequacies on the IMO GISIS system; to make some changes to the GISIS module to improve reporting; and that the IMO could perhaps encourage Member States to provide incentives in order for ports and terminals to increase investment in the provision of adequate PRFs.

During the ensuing debate, the proposal was largely supported, although some countries cautioned that many member states may not have treatment technologies for discharges of some types of waste in Annexes to MARPOL and may not be able to invest in them. It was noted that there is a trade-off between the cost of providing specific PRFs and whether the resulting charges are deemed acceptable by the industry.

Agenda Item 5: Measures to harmonize port State control (PSC) activities and procedures worldwide

Work has been going on in a correspondence group (CG) on this subject and continued in a working group (WG) during III 4. This work entailed producing a final draft revision of the Procedures for port State control, 2011.

When this was discussed in plenary, questions were raised with regards to appendix 12 of the draft revised PSC Procedures, which contains the list of certificates and documents which port State control officers (PSCOs) should check during an initial PSC inspection.

The draft PSC Procedures state that PSCOS “on boarding and introduction to the master or the responsible ship’s officer, should examine the ship’s relevant certificates and documents required by the applicable relevant conventions, as listed in appendix 12”. It also says that in conducting an initial inspection, the PSCO “should check both the validity of the relevant certificates and other documents referenced in appendix 12”.

The list of documents in appendix 12 to the PSC Procedures is substantial at around 100 items and it raises a fundamental question about what an initial inspection should entail.

One delegation used as an example the bunker delivery note (BDN) and checking that the ship has representative samples of fuels bunkered, suggesting this should not be part of an initial inspection but rather of more detailed inspection.

The list mentions a number of documents that are only carried by certain types of ships and as such PSCOs will only inspect documents to the extent that is applicable to the ship.

The question of how to apply appendix 12 has yet to be resolved and will be discussed in a CG to get more clarity on what should be part of an initial PSC inspection, and also whether “should” means PSCOs can make a choice about which of the documents in appendix 12 they check during an initial inspection.

This raises an interesting question about to what extent ships will in fact be checked for compliance with MARPOL Annex VI. Among the documents in annex 12 which PSC “should” check during an initial inspection are the International Air Pollution Prevention Certificate (IAPPC), Fuel oil Changeover Procedure and Logbook for fuel oil change-over, Bunker delivery notes and Representative Sample and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan.

The CG on this question will report to III 5, which has been tentatively scheduled to take place from 24 to 28 September 2018.

III 4 met at the IMO’s headquarter from 25-29 September.

Report by Unni Einemo:

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