As pressure continues for more regulation of the supply side, a proposal from several shipping organisations to make bunker licensing schemes mandatory under MARPOL Annex VI was rejected at the 74th session of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 74), but it agreed to consider a template for voluntary application.
The proposal in MEPC 74/5/4, submitted by ICS, BIMCO, INTERTANKO, INTERCARGO, IPTA and WSC, said that addressing fuel safety-related matters through making bunker supplier licencing mandatory under MARPOL Annex VI was supported by the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC).
The view of the co-sponsors of MEPC 74/5/4 was that the safety risks associated with poor quality fuel oil could be mitigated if Member States implemented fuel oil supplier licensing schemes. This view received significant support during plenary discussions at MEPC 74; some thought it would be critical to the safe implementation of the 0.50% sulphur limit in 2020. The majority view, however, was that a licencing scheme would create additional administrative burdens without significant or sufficient benefit and hence should not be made mandatory. There was, however, support for developing guidance on how to set up such schemes on a voluntary basis.
Following the discussions in plenary an annex to MEPC 74/5/4, containing a draft template of a bunker license that could be used by Member States and ports under their jurisdiction, was forwarded to the Air Pollution Working Group to see if it might be added as an appendix to the “Guidance on best practice for Member States/coastal States” which the working group was instructed to finalise during MEPC 74. Despite working long into the evenings during MEPC 74, the group did not have time to consider the proposed example of a supplier licence and suggested instead that it should be kept for consideration at a future meeting as early as possible. That means either the 7th session of the IMO’s Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR 7) in February next year or MEPC 75, which has been scheduled to run at the end of March/start of April next year.
IBIA would like hear views from our members on the draft licencing scheme proposed by the shipping organisations in MEPC 74/5/4. Please contact us if you want a copy of the proposal and to share your thoughts on it.