The IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee met in London 18-22 March 2024 for the eighty-first session (MEPC 81).

The following are key outcomes from MEPC 81:

  • Adoption of amendments to MARPOL Annex VI concerning definitions of fuel oil and gas fuel and when the sampling requirements of MARPOL Annex VI regulation 14 do not apply to them, replacement of a steam engine and NOx compliance under MARPOL Annex VI regulation 13, and expansion of data required to be reported according to MARPOL Annex VI regulation 27 (expected to enter force 1 August 2025).
  • Agreement to the reclassification of LNG carriers that are currently reported as gas carriers for the purpose of the data reporting in Annex VI regulation 27 and CII.
  • Agreement to an illustration of future MARPOL Annex VI regulations to implement mid-term GHG measures and confirmation that the mid-term measures will include a fuel standard and an economic requirement.
  • Approval of ECAs for SOx and NOx in the Norwegian Sea and Canadian Arctic (both expected to enter force 1 March 2026).
  • Endorsement of a comprehensive list of instruments which require revision and or development as part of the review of the BWM Convention.
  • Adoption of, with effect from 22 March 2024, MEPC.387(81) Interim guidance on the application of the BWM convention to ships operating in challenging water quality conditions. This guidance will assist ship owners and operators in planning for compliance with the BWM Convention and the D-2 discharge standard when a type-approved BWMS encounters operational limitations or meeting operational demand in challenging water quality (CWQ) conditions.
  • Approval of, with effect from 22 March 2024, BWM.2/Circ.82 Guidance for the temporary storage of treated sewage and/or grey water in ballast water tanks. Noting that this procedure should only be undertaken temporarily in specific ports and areas which restrict the discharge of treated sewage and/or grey water (TS/GW) and where the ship does not have dedicated tanks with adequate storage capacity.
  • Approval of, with effect from 22 March 2024, MEPC.1/Circ.909 Recommendations for the carriage of plastic pellets by sea in freight containers. This circular will act as a short-term measure with the aim of reducing the environmental risks associated with the carriage of plastic pellets in packaged form by sea ahead of mandatory instruments being developed.

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