ICS seeks ECA harmony

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has urged the Paris Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to ensure a harmonised approach to port state control enforcement of looming emissions regulations.

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The London-based group says information from national shipowner associations shows that many governments are not yet prepared to implement the Annex VI of the Marpol Convention, which will drop maximum sulphur content in marine fuel to just 0.1% in so-called emission control areas (ECAs) starting in January.

“The shipping industry is investing billions of dollars in order to ensure compliance with this major regulatory change, and the huge costs involved could have a profound impact on the future structure of the entire shipping industry,” said ICS Secretary General Peter Hinchliffe. “We therefore think it is vital that governments get the details of any PSC intervention right as we enter a new world in which fuel costs for many ships will increase overnight by 50% or more.”

The organisation has sent the Paris MOU secretariat, an international treaty organisation on port state control inspections, a letter laying out a series of proposals to harmonise enforcement in the ECAs, which have been set up in parts of Europe and North America.

Paris MOU General Secretary Richard Schiferli tells TradeWinds that the organisation has guidelines in place already to implement the ECA rules.

He says the proposals from the ICS will have to be considered at an advisory board meeting in September.

The ICS says it believes that a bunker delivery note alone should be the principal target of a port-state inspection, with sampling and analysis of fuel only taking place when examination of the note “suggests clear grounds to suspect non-compliance”.

Clarity sought on sampling

The organisation also wants clarity on the procedures that must be followed when sampling and examination and on procedures for transiting an ECA's without calling at a port within the regulated zone.

The ICS also wants a consistent approach to the difference between minor technical violations and deliberate use of non-complying fuels.

Another issue identified by the group is the criteria used in PSC inspections in determining compliance when alternative measures like exhaust gas scrubbers or LNG fuel are used.

“There is only six months to go and it is vital that the Paris MOU and its member states – in co-ordination, as may be appropriate, with the United States and the European Commission – clarify all of the details of ECA implementation with respect to PSC inspection as soon as possible,” said Hinchcliffe. “ICS believes it is important for the maintenance of fair competition that implementation occurs throughout the Paris MOU region in a consistent and harmonised manner.”