The IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee has adopted a revised strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero, by or around 2050. This is a significant acceleration in the reduction of emissions compared to the strategy agreed only 5 years ago which required a 50% reduction by 2050 compared to 2008 levels.

This means that shipping is much closer to alignment with the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement target of keeping global temperatures below 1.5 degrees Celsius of pre-industrial levels. In addition there are targets for carbon emissions reduction at indicative checkpoints of 20% by 2030 and 30 70% by 2040, compared to 2008 levels. Future-proof your fleet by exploring our MEPC 80 resources page.

Other outcomes from MEPC 80: 

Greenhouse Gas reduction

This was a key topic of discussion throughout the week. The agreements made will have global significance across the maritime industry in the coming decades. 
Key decisions made included: 

  • Adoption of MEPC.376(80) the Guidelines on Life Cycle GHG Intensity of Marine Fuels (LCA Guidelines).
  • Agreement of a timeline for the selection, development, and further adoption of mid-term measures.

Air Pollution Prevention

Further work was undertaken on the prevention of air pollution from ships. MEPC 80:

  • Approved MEPC.1/Circ.905 Interim guidance on the use of biofuels under regulations 26, 27 and 28 of MARPOL Annex VI.
  • Approved draft amendments to regulation 2, 14, 18 and appendix I of MARPOL Annex VI on “fuel oil” related issues.
  • Approved the draft amendments to regulation 13.2.2 of MARPOL Annex VI on a marine diesel engine replacing a steam system.
  • Agreed an update to MEPC.1/Circ.795/Rev.8 Unified Interpretations to MARPOL Annex VI - Regulation 13.2.2 concerning identical replacement engines and 18.5 and 18.6 (concerning electronic bunker delivery notes) of MARPOL Annex VI.

Energy efficiency of Ships 

As part of the journey to decarbonisation, a key element is making ships more efficient. The follow progress was made by MEPC 80: 

  • Agreed the plan for review of the short-term measures.
  • Approved the draft amendments to regulation 27 and appendix IX of MARPOL Annex VI in relation to the IMO ship fuel oil consumption Data Collection System (DCS).
  • Adopted MEPC.374(80) Amendments to the 2022 Guidelines on survey and certification of the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) (MEPC.365(79) to clarify the filling rate for a gas fuel tank in the EEDI calculation. • Adopted MEPC.375(80) Amendments to the 2021 Guidelines on the Shaft/Engine Power limitation system to comply with the EEXI requirements and use of a power reserve (MEPC.335(76)).

Pollution Prevention Response 

Following PPR 10 in April, MEPC 80 was requested to follow up on a number of items, which resulted in the committee: 

  • Adopting MEPC.378(80) 2023 Guidelines for the control and management of ships' biofouling to minimize the transfer of invasive aquatic species.
  • Adopting MEPC.373(80) 2023 Guidelines for thermal waste treatment devices.
  • Adopting MEPC.379(80) 2023 Guidelines for the development of the Inventory of Hazardous Materials.
  • Approving the Operational Guide on the Response to Spills of Hazardous and Noxious Substances (HNS).
  • Agreeing amendments to PPR.1/Circ.7 Decisions with regard to the categorization and classification of products. 

Special Areas, PSSAs 

To protect some more vulnerable areas of the sea, MEPC 80:

  • Adopted MEPC.382(80) Establishment of the date on which regulations 15.3, 15.5, and 34.3 to 34.5 of MARPOL Annex I, in respect of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden Special Areas, shall take effect.
  • Adopted MEPC.381(80) Establishment of the date on which regulation 6 of MARPOL Annex V, in respect of the Red Sea Special Area shall take effect.
  • Adopted MEPC.377(80) Designation of the north-western Mediterranean Sea as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area.

Underwater Noise 

Underwater radiated noise can have a significant impact on some species, particularly some cetaceans. IMO has continued to work on measures to reduce shipping’s impact on them by:  

  • Approving MEPC.1/Circ.906 Revised Guidelines for the reduction of underwater radiated noise from shipping to address adverse impacts on marine life (MEPC.1/Circ.833).
  • Approving MEPC.1/Circ.907 Guidelines for underwater radiated noise reduction in Inuit Nunaat and the Arctic.

Ballast water management 

  • Approved BWM.2/Circ.79 Convention Review Plan under the experience-building phase associated with the BWM Convention.
  • Adopted MEPC.369(80) Amendments to Appendix II of the BWM Convention - concerning the form of Ballast Water Record Book (BWRB).
  • Approved BWM.2/Circ.80 Guidance for completing entries in the Ballast Water Record Book (BWRB).
  • Adopted MEPC.372(80) Guidelines for the use of electronic record books under the Ballast Water Management Convention.
  • Approved BWM.2/Circ.78 Protocol for verification of ballast water compliance monitoring devices.
  • Approved BWM.2/Circ.66/Rev.5 Unified Interpretation to the BWM Convention - form of the International Ballast Water Management Certificate and regulations B-3.5 and B-3.10 of the BWM Convention.
Explore paths to decarbonisation with expert analysis on MEPC 80

The Marine Environment Protection Committee 80th session (MEPC 80) will set the scene for decades of regulatory development on decarbonisation, future fuels and ultimately, the future of our ocean economy, with expectations to agree on a revised IMO GHG strategy.