The first ever remotely held MEPC (75th Session) held from 16 to 20 November 2020 has generated interest like never before in the maritime fraternity. The Mumbai Branch of the Institute of Marine Engineers (India) in keeping with its tradition to follow important deliberations like MEPC, organised a Webinar on Saturday 5th December 2020 along with the Director General of Shipping. The Chairman, Mr. V.K. Jain, of the Mumbai Branch of the IME(I) welcomed the packed audience to the Event which had Registrations in excess of 460. He thanked Director General Shipping for the continued support for technical activities of IME(I), and specifically steering the deliberations on MEPC for a long time.
Mr. S. Barik, Chief Surveyor and Additional DG (Engineering), the Chief Guest for the Webinar, while inaugurating the Webinar urged the Panelists to focus on the update from the MEPC-75 session. He initiated by elucidating that his MEPC-75 session saw the approval of amendments to MARPOL Annex VI on the Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI), Carbon Intensity Indicator rating (CII) and enhanced Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) as well as the adoption of amendments to the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) and the Ballast Water Management Convention on commissioning testing of Ballast Water Management Systems (BWMS). Mr. Barik, in his inaugural address also highlighted the efforts of the Administration to ensure that trade is not impacted and remains competitive when new regulations are drafted.
Mr. S.M. Rai, Senior Fellow of IME(I), then invited the Panelists Mr. Ajith Kumar Sukumaran (Principal Officer, MMD Chennai), Mr. P.K. Mishra (Vice President, IRS), Mr. I.N. Bose (Adviser, Great Eastern Shipping) and Mr. C.P.K. Kashyap (Executive Director, Sanmar Shipping) to commence deliberations.
Mr. Sukumaran in his address elaborated on India’s position at MEPC over the years. He mentioned that India had steadfastly maintained the position that developed countries had greater responsibilities towards climate change and reducing GHG emissions. Stressing that India’s per Capita GHG emissions amount to just 4%, Mr. Sukumaran elaborated on the framework of IMRB and India’s stellar contribution to reduce GHG emissions. He stated that shipping companies will have to contribute to the International Maritime Research Fund (IMRF) based on the fuel consumption by the ships. Concluding that IMRF’s intent is to collect USD 5 Billion over the next 10 years, Mr Sukumaran informed that details on how the fund will be utilised will be worked on in the upcoming MEPC meetings.
Mr. I.N. Bose presented details of EEXI that was being rolled out for existing Ships. He brought out that existing Vessels will have to comply with EEDI Phase 2 or EEDI Phase 3 requirements on or before 1st January 2023 depending on the ship type and size. Further he elaborated that for shipping to meet the IMO 2030 targets of 40% reduction in carbon intensity, a CII rating scheme has been established which will rate Vessels from A to E. Mr. Bose elaborated on how the rating scheme is expected to work and what steps ship owners may have to take towards meeting the requirements.
The amendments to BWM convention and AFS regulations adopted during MEPC 75 were highlighted by Mr. P.K. Mishra. He spoke on the changes to the BWM circular on ‘Guidance for the commissioning testing of ballast water management systems’. Mr. Mishra then highlighted that changes to AFS regulations now bans ‘to apply’ or ‘re-apply’ anti-fouling systems containing cybutryne from 1st January 2023.
The last Speaker, Mr. Kashyap ran through IMO’s 4th GHG study and the adopted measures. He summarised the findings of the study which indicated that though there has been an increase in GHG emissions during the period of the study, a clear decoupling of these emissions from international shipping and significant improvement of carbon intensity has been achieved in the period under review. Speaking on the GHG, he mentioned on the two upcoming meetings as crucial viz. MEPC 76 and the lnter-sessional Working Group (ISWG) planned in 2021.
An intensive and interactive Question and Answer session hosted by Mr. T.S. Girish followed with the Speakers taking on pertinent queries on MEPC deliberations. Hon. Treasurer of IME(I), Mumbai Branch, Mr. Bryan D’Sa concluded the webinar with a Vote of Thanks to the Organisers and specifically the DG Shipping.