Recap: IMO MEPC 81

Highlights from the 81th session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee held in person at the IMO from 18-22 March 2024 and attended by SYBAss.

The 81st session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee was held at the IMO in London from 18-22 March 2024. The MEPC agreed on an illustration of a possible draft outline of an “IMO net-zero framework” for cutting greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from international shipping. This approach may include a new Chapter 5 of MARPOL Annex VI with:

  • a goal-based marine fuel standard regulating the phased reduction of the marine fuel’s GHG intensity; and
  • an economic mechanism(s) to incentivise the transition to net-zero.

In particular, MEPC 81 adopted the following actions:

  • 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.
  • Agreement on developing a working plan for a regulatory framework for onboard carbon capture systems
  • Approval of ECAs for SOx and NOx in the Norwegian Sea and Canadian Arctic (both expected to enter force 1 March 2026).
  • Identification of a comprehensive list of provisions requiring revision or development as part of the revision of the BWM Convention.
  • Approval of BWM.2/Circ.82 Guidance for the temporary storage of treated sewage and/or grey water in ballast water tanks.
  • Adoption of MEPC.387(81) Interim guidance on the application of the BWM convention to ships operating in challenging water quality conditions.

Note that the presented information reflects the status at the time of MEPC 81 which may change as a result of ongoing developments. It is also uncertain at this time whether the mentioned amendments or new regulations will eventually be adopted in future versions of the Red Ensign Group Yacht Codes or other flag codes.