China opposes UN environmental rules compelling use of bigger, slower ships
BIGGER and slower ships will come to dominate international trade because of conditions imposed by environmental regulations from the IMO MEPC, the application schedule of which China and Brazil oppose. Friday, 22.Jul.2011, 15:11 (GMT+3)
BIGGER and slower ships will come to dominate international trade because of conditions imposed by environmental regulations from the UN's International Maritime Organisation's (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), the application schedule of which China and Brazil oppose.
"Ocean carriers will no longer be able to order what they want, which may, in part, explain why so many orders have recently been placed," said Matthew Beddow of London's Containerisation International.
"The next step for shipping to save the planet will be the imposition of a carbon tax. The level of the tax could well be linked to how vessels measure up to their EED [energy efficiency design]," he said.
"Who will be responsible for administering the global measure is unclear. The subject may well be discussed at the next United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) in Durban at the end of the year, including the possibility that the IMO may not be involved, he said.
If enforced by member states - as UN rulings do not automatically become law - under a new Chapter 4 of Marpol Annex VI, future ship orders would have to comply with the IMO's maximum Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) for each category of vessel, which indexes basically encourage bigger and slower vessels.
Delegates from 49 member states agreed to these new measures, two abstained and five opposed including China and Brazil. The regulations would apply to all ships of 400 gross tonnage and above and are expected to enter into force on January 1, 2013.
Under regulation 19, the governments may waive the requirement for new ships of 400 gross tonnage and above from complying with the EEDI requirements where contracts have been basically agreed, though not yet been signed.
As the UN agency sees it, this waiver may not be applied to ships above 400 gross tons for which "the building contract is placed four years after the entry into force date of Chapter 4; the keel of which is laid or which is at a similar stage of construction four years and six months after the entry into force; the delivery of which is after six years and six months after the entry into force; or in cases of the major conversion of a new or existing ship, four years after the entry into force date".
The new chapter 4 of Marpol VI also would compel shipowners to operate all existing vessels in accordance with the IMO's Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEMP). In the words of the International Chamber of Shipping, this "incorporates best practices for the fuel efficient operation of ships, such as better speed management throughout a ships voyage. Such efficiency measures will significantly reduce fuel consumption and, consequently, CO2 emissions", CI reported.