A number of important developments in 2013 have opened the way for the possibility of substantial progress on the development of International Maritime Organisation (IMO)green-house gases (GHG) measures for existing ships in 2014.

A number of important developments in 2013 have opened the way for the possibility of substantial progress on the development of International Maritime Organisation (IMO)green-house gases (GHG) measures for existing ships in 2014.

Key developments in 2013 included the agreement on the technical cooperation resolution that had been holding up discussions of a ship market-based measure (MBM) for the last two years; the tabling, for the first time, of a draft proposal for a regulatory efficiency measure for existing ships, including MRV (monitoring, reporting & verification); and agreement on the commissioning of a new study to update the estimates for ship GHG emissions.

In 2014, two sessions of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC66 & 67) should in theory give plenty of time for discussion and it is hoped real progress can be made on these issues. On ship MBMs, the first stop should be an agreement on the process for conducting an impact assessment focussed on developing countries. Developing countries have previously insisted on this step as part of the process of developing a MBM for green-house gas emissions from ships.

A proposal from the US for an efficiency measure for existing ships - to complement the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) that has previously been agreed for new ships - will likely be the subject of substantial discussion with particular attention being paid to its provisions for MRV and how these relate to the current European Commission proposal.

The updated ship green-house gases inventory will not be available until later in the year, but a progress report is likely to be available at the first IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee meeting of the year (MEPC66) in March. The study will use a combination of top-down and bottom-up calculations, the latter using ship activity data derived from satellite tracking systems. The study should give the best information yet of the significance of slow steaming in reducing ship GHG emissions during the recession.

The 66th session of MEPC will take place in London from 31st March until 4th April.

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