Update from the Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC 70)

Dates for implementation of the ballast water treatment requirements are still uncertain. The global 0.5% sulphur limit applies from 2020. Fuel consumption data collection starts in 2019. The Baltic Sea, English Channel and North Sea are approved as NOx emission control areas from 2021. Read more about these and other outcomes from the IMO Marine Environmental Protection Committee.

Relevant forship owners and managers, design offices, shipyards, suppliers and flag states.

Ballast water

After twelve years in the making, the International Ballast Water Convention was, as already announced, ratified on 8 September and will enter into force on 8 September 2017. 

At MEPC 70, the revised ballast water system type approval guideline (G8) was approved. Therefore, systems being installed on ships on or after 28 October 2020 (contractual date of delivery of the BWMS to the ship) should be approved according to these revised guidelines. 

There was no consensus at MEPC 70 on revising the implementation dates for the D-2 standard (treatment system). The convention text regarding implementation dates can only be changed after entry into force of the convention on 8 September 2017. 

A proposal with new dates will be evaluated at MEPC 71 for possible adoption at MEPC 72 in 2018, in addition to the current Assembly resolution connecting the implementation date to the IOPP renewal survey. This means that there is still uncertainty regarding the application dates. Of course, DNV GL will keep you informed of further developments.

Global sulphur limits

The global 0.5% sulphur limit was confirmed to apply from 1 January 2020. Although MEPC 70 noted challenges related to fuel blends and quality, regional supply and implementation, it deemed that sufficient quantities of low sulphur fuels would be available in 2020 and that the concerns raised were not significant enough to delay the implementation. More information on the global sulphur cap 2020, and possible alternatives for our customers, can be found in our guidance paper which can be downloaded from our web page

Data collection system for fuel consumption

The new regulation requiring the reporting of fuel consumption data was also adopted. All vessels larger than 5000 GT need to report fuel consumption starting from 1 January 2019. A plan for the data collection needs to be included in the SEEMP by 31 December 2018 at the latest. When the Administration has confirmed that the SEEMP contains the data collection plan, a Statement of Compliance will be issued.

An annual fuel consumption report (1 January to 31 December) should be submitted and verified by the Administration by 1 June in the subsequent year. When the report has been verified, a new Statement of Compliance will be issued.

The guidelines for developing the data collection plan were finalized at MEPC 70, while the guidelines on how the Administrations will verify the reports will be finalized at MEPC 71 in May 2017.

Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) review

Concluding on the first review of the EEDI requirements, MEPC decided to retain the current requirements for Phase 2 starting from 1 January 2020. However, it will start a further review to evaluate whether to move Phase 3 forward from 2025 to 2022 and introduce a new Phase 4 from 2025.

The ro-ro cargo and ro-ro passenger ship reference line, reduction rates and calculation rates will be retained for the time being, but they will be discussed further at MEPC 71 in May 2017.

Greenhouse gases (GHG) strategy

A roadmap for the development of an IMO GHG strategy was approved, with the aim to adopt a strategy at MEPC 72 in spring 2018. This strategy should contain an action plan with measures and timelines, and will be revised in the period up to 2023 based on a fourth IMO GHG study as well as analyses of the collected fuel consumption data. The revised strategy in 2023 should contain an implementation schedule for further measures to reduce GHG emissions.

New NOx emission control areas (ECAs)

The countries around the North Sea, the English Channel and the Baltic Sea have applied for extending the existing ECAs to cover NOx as well. The application is subject to adoption at MEPC 71 in May 2017. If adopted, all vessels constructed on or after 1 January 2021 will need to run on Tier-III-approved engines when operating in these areas.


  • Start preparing for 0.5% sulphur fuel or alternative compliance options.
  • Start preparing for compliance with the ballast water requirements, while remaining aware that the implementation schedule has not yet been finally agreed on.
  • Start developing a method for the collection of fuel consumption – to be described in the SEEMP.

DNV GL will keep the shipping community informed about further developments.


More information about the topics covered above can be found here:


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