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Draft amendments to MARPOL enabling use of electronic record books

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Draft amendments to MARPOL and the NOx Technical Code, which will enable the use of electronic record books, were approved at the MEPC 73 in October 2018. E-record books will ease the administrative burden associated with paperwork, and the benefits of having an electronic recording system may be fully utilized for the vessel’s crew and manager as well as third parties.
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Relevant for suppliers, owners/managers, flag states.

The MARPOL and the NOx Technical Code record books

The draft amendments are subject to final adoption in May 2019 and expected to enter into force 1 January 2021. From then, an e-record book may be used as the ship’s official record book under MARPOL.

In addition to the draft MARPOL and NTC amendments, a draft MEPC resolution on Guidelines for the use of electronic record books under MARPOL, draft amendments to the procedure for PSC, and draft amendments to guidelines for PSC under MARPOL Annex VI were approved – all to facilitate the use of e-record books.

The following record books are covered by the guidelines:

  • Oil Record Book, part I (MARPOL Annex I)
  • Oil Record Book, part II (MARPOL Annex I)
  • Cargo Record Book (MARPOL Annex II)
  • Garbage Record Book, parts I and II (MARPOL Annex V)
  • Ozone-depleting Substances Record Book (MARPOL Annex VI)
  • Recording of the tier and on/off status of marine diesel engines (MARPOL Annex VI)
  • Record of Fuel Oil Changeover (MARPOL Annex VI)
  • Record Book of Engine Parameters (NOx Technical Code)

Trial period

It was also agreed that a trial period until the entry into force of the MARPOL amendments (2021) should be established during which ships are encouraged to use electronic record books in addition to the hard copy record book. The hard copy record book will still be the vessel’s official record book during this period.

Some flag administrations are already encouraging and facilitating the use of e-record books in the trial period and some Flag Administrations are also accepting manually signed and filed printouts from the e-record book as the official hard copy.

Approval

The e-record book will require approval by the flag administration based on the guidelines for the use of electronic record books under MARPOL. The guidelines provide standardized information on approving an electronic record book to ensure the obligations of MARPOL are met and that there is a consistent approach to approving such systems. The system specifications include:

  • Ability to meet MARPOL regulations
  • System updates
  • Security
  • Accountability
  • Data storage

Declaration

An approved e-record book shall be accompanied by a declaration issued on behalf of the flag administration confirming assessment in accordance with the guidelines and compliance with the relevant MARPOL requirements. The declaration is ship-specific, noting the flag, ships’ particulars, e-record book manufacturer, supplier, installer and software name/version.

Recommendations

When delegated by a flag administration, DNV GL may on request approve e-record books and issue declarations in accordance with the guidelines. DNV GL will support owners / flag administrations in carrying out trials and early implementation to facilitate faster acceptance of digital tools to reduce administrative burden.

References

  • Draft amendments to MARPOL Annexes I, II, V and VI and the NOx Technical Code
  • Draft Guidelines for the use of electronic record books under MARPOL
  • Draft amendments to the procedure for port state control, 2017
  • Draft amendments to the 2009 guidelines for port state control under the revised MARPOL Annex VI

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