Maritime Safety and Protection of the Environment

The global shipping industry is fully committed to reducing its carbon intensity by at least 40% by 2030, pursuing efforts towards 70% by 2050, compared to 2008, and to reduce overall GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050, compared to 2008, according to the agreed UN IMO Initial Strategy. Its adoption in April 2018 provides the framework and time schedule for the development of concrete short-term measures as well as of candidate mid-term to long-term measures to achieve its targets. The UN IMO Member States are actively engaged in an informed discussion that includes impact assessment of measures on states’ economies, which may include their shipping industry, towards appropriately achieving the agreed strategic ambitions and towards eventually decarbonising the shipping industry this century.

The 5th session of the UN IMO Intersessional Working Group on the Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships (ISWG - GHG 5) and the UN IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 74) in May 2019 finalised the impact assessment methodology and considered detailed proposals for specific carbon reduction measures. In this context, the UGS is fully committed and supports the efforts by the ICS and other international shipping organisations, which work intensively in good faith at the UN IMO along with UN IMO Member States, to develop feasible and workable short and medium-term measures, such as tightening of the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) and strengthening the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (super SEEMP).

In addition, the UGS firmly supports the submission of Greece to the UN IMO ISWG - GHG 5, which makes proposals that can be used as criteria for the selection of short-term measures that are appropriate for bulk / tramp shipping too and a methodology which, building upon the industry’s proposal, would facilitate the further strengthening of the SEEMP through prescriptive measures. Such prescriptive measures should oblige charterers, who are usually ultimately responsible for ships’ commercial operation (responsible for the type and quantities of cargo, for the vessels’ service speed and for purchasing bunker fuels), to abide by the UN IMO’s relevant strategic targets. The UGS has welcomed the inclusion of both proposals in the list of short-term measures to be further considered and evaluated by UN IMO’s competent bodies taking into account in particular that an exclusively goal-based approach which includes mandatory operational efficiency indexing of companies or individual ships is totally inappropriate and unworkable for bulk / tramp shipping.

In any case, the new environmental rules should be based on sound technical expertise, be workable and apply globally in order to successfully implement the UN IMO’s GHG strategy, while safe, energy dense, low carbon or fossil-free fuels are required to be globally available to the international shipping if its absolute GHG emissions reductions are to remain on the envisaged pathway. New breakthrough propulsion technologies are also required and must be properly tested and suitable for vessels spending long periods of time at sea.

These fuels and technologies must be provided by the relevant stakeholders and the shipping industry has called for the necessary Research & Development (R&D) to be advanced under the auspices of the UN IMO.

The UGS supports prioritising short-term measures of prescriptive character that can achieve significant carbon intensity reductions even before 2023.