100th state joins air pollution and ship emissions treaty
Argentina becomes the 100th State Party to the MARPOL Annex VI Regulations for the Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships.
Argentina has become the 100th Contracting State to require the International Maritime Organization (IMO) mandatory regulations on reducing air pollution from shipping.
The regulations in Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) deal with air pollution from ships and include energy efficiency and fuel quality requirements designed to reduce harmful emissions from maritime transport.
With Argentina’s ratification, the regulations now apply to 96.65% of the world’s merchant navy in tonnage.
IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim welcomed the latest ratification. “Annex VI regulations limit air pollutants from maritime transport and improve energy efficiency, thus helping to combat climate change by reducing CO2 emissions from maritime transport. I am glad that we now have 100 Contracting States and I encourage others who have not yet done so to become parties to this important treaty, ”said Mr. Lim.
“We must all do our part to ensure the health of people and the planet and to fight climate change. MARPOL Annex VI provides the mandatory regulatory framework to limit harmful emissions from ships, ”said Mr. Lim.
Mr Lim noted that if the majority of vessels by tonnage were already covered, all states, including coastal states, could benefit from membership, since they can then exercise port state control over vessels flying any flag visiting their ports.
MARPOL Annex VI (Regulations for the Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships) sets mandatory limits for sulfur oxides (SOx) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions from gases engine exhaust, it regulates on-board incineration and prohibits deliberate emissions of ozone-depleting substances. It includes provisions for designated emission control areas with more stringent standards for SOx, NOx and particulate matter.
A Chapter 4 adopted in 2011 includes mandatory technical and operational energy efficiency measures aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from ships, which have been extended and strengthened over the past decade, providing the mandatory regulatory framework which codifies the ambition levels set out in the IMO’s initial declaration of 2018 GHG Strategy.
The Parties to Annex VI of MARPOL undertake to give effect to the provisions of this Annex.
His Excellency Mr. Javier Esteban Figueroa, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Argentina deposited the instrument of accession with Mr. Lim on Tuesday 8 June.
History of MARPOL Annex VI
The issue of controlling air pollution from ships – in particular, harmful gases from ship exhaust gases – was discussed in the early 1970s, when the IMO developed what would become the MARPOL Convention of 1973. However, it was decided not to include regulations regarding air pollution at the time.
Meanwhile, air pollution was being discussed in other areas. The 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm marked the beginning of active international cooperation in combating acidification, or acid rain, largely caused by atmospheric deposition of sulfur dioxide and d ‘nitrogen oxides. Coal and oil-fired power plants were the main source of sulfur dioxide, while nitrogen oxides came from the exhausts of cars, trucks and ships.
In 1979, the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution was adopted by 34 governments and the European Community. It was the first legally binding international instrument to address air pollution issues on a broad regional basis. Protocols were subsequently signed on the reduction of sulfur emissions (1985); nitrogen oxides (1988); volatile organic compounds (1991) and further reducing sulfur emissions (1994).
In 1987, the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was developed and adopted under the auspices of the United Nations, to reduce the consumption and production of ozone-depleting substances, including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs ) and halons to protect the ozone layer. Protocols were adopted in 1990 and 1992.
At the IMO, the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) in the mid-1980s reviewed fuel oil quality and the issue of air pollution was discussed.
In 1988, the MEPC agreed to include the issue of air pollution in its program of work. In 1991, IMO adopted Assembly resolution A.719 (17) on the prevention of air pollution from ships. The resolution called on the MEPC to prepare a new draft annex to MARPOL on prevention of air pollution.
IMO’s MARPOL Annex VI was adopted at a conference in September 1997, through a Protocol to the MARPOL Convention, which included the new Annex.
The Conference convened by IMO adopted a number of resolutions, including an important resolution 8 on CO2 emissions from ships. This resolution invited the MEPC to consider what CO2 reduction strategies might be feasible in light of the relationship between CO2 and other air and marine pollutants. The resolution also called on IMO, in cooperation with the UNFCCC, to undertake a study of CO2 emissions from ships with the aim of establishing the amount and relative percentage of CO2 emissions from ships as part of the global inventory. CO2 emissions.
(Meanwhile, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted in December 1992 and entered into force in 1994. In December 1997, the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC was adopted (it is entered into force in 2005) .Under the protocol, states agreed to limit and reduce greenhouse gas emissions not regulated by the Montreal Protocol from aviation and marine bunker fuels, working through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) respectively (Article 2 (2))
The 1997 Protocol (MARPOL Annex VI)
The Protocol comprising Annex VI of MARPOL entered into force on May 19, 2005. IMO Member States immediately agreed to revise the Annex and update its requirements. This revised annex was adopted in 2008 and entered into force in 2010.
This significant revision included stricter limits on sulfur oxide emissions from ships, introducing a global limit of 0.50% from 2020 – subject to review. The review has been completed – and the 2020 date has been confirmed as 2016. The “IMO 2020” sulfur limit has undoubtedly contributed to a significant reduction in sulfur oxide emissions from ships as ships have passed very low sulfur fuel oil or have an exhaust gas cleaning system installed. systems to “clean” emissions with an on-board system and meet requirements.
In 2011, the IMO adopted a new chapter on energy efficiency, introducing mandatory requirements for ships to improve their energy efficiency and help fight climate change by reducing their CO2 emissions.
IMO’s initial strategy on reducing GHG emissions from ships was adopted in 2018.
(Find out more here: https://www.imo.org/en/MediaCentre/HotTopics/Pages/Cutting-GHG-emissions.aspx)
In 2021, the IMO is expected to adopt new amendments to Annex VI of MARPOL, in order to introduce mandatory requirements aimed at reducing the carbon intensity of all ships.
(Find out more here: https://www.imo.org/en/MediaCentre/IMOMediaAccreditation/Pages/MEPC-76-preview.aspx)