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IMO amendments progress
Originally published:  01/06/2012
The 90th session of the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) was held last month at the headquarters of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in London. The meeting adopted a number of revisions to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) for entry into force in 2014. These changes have already been passed by the relevant sub-committees and have now passed the formal committee stage without significant change.
Among the impending amendments is a revision to SOLAS VI/5 to prohibit the physical blending of bulk liquid cargoes during sea voyages – blending while in port is acceptable. This has had to be tightly defined; it applies to blending using a ship’s cargo pumps and piping system in such a way as to circulate two or more different cargoes with the intent of achieving a cargo with a new product designation. The same prohibition applies to the processing of cargoes to effect a chemical reaction. An exemption applies to vessels involved in offshore exploration and exploitation of seabed mineral resources.
MSC approved guidelines for maritime administrations to use in the exemption of crude oil tankers from the requirements of the Performance Standards for Protective Coatings of Cargo Oil Tanks (PSPC/COT), as allowed under SOLAS II-1/3-11. Tankers engaged exclusively in the carriage of ‘benign’- i.e. non-corrosive – crude oil can be exempted and there are specific criteria in the guidelines to allow benign crude oil to be identified. The guidelines also specify that when benign crude is blended with corrosive crude oil, the resulting blend cannot be considered ‘benign’ for the purposes of transport by tanker vessel.
A few weeks earlier, the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) held its 63rd session, again progressing a number of amendments through IMO’s system. MEPC approved, in particular, the revisions to the 2012 Guidelines on the Method of Calculation of the Attained Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) for New Ships, as contained in resolution MEPC.212(63). Of special interest to HCB readers is the cubic correction factor to be applied for chemical tankers to take account of the increased lightship compared to conventional oil tankers due to the larger number of cargo tanks and increased scantlings to handle higher density products.
MEPC also unanimously agreed that the EEDI requirements are not to be applied to existing ships. However, the Committee felt that there is a need to have some means of comparing the energy efficiency of existing ships and decided that the proposals for market-based measures (MBM) should be revised based on the latest changes to EEDI.