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  • Failure to ratify shipping emissions law could threaten IMO progress

    The Clean Shipping Coalition, of which T&E is a leading member, has written to the Hungarian presidency of the EU, calling on it to act quickly to get five EU member states plus Monaco to ratify the Marpol Annex VI regulation on ship pollution. The move is important, as it could affect whether efforts by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to reduce greenhouse emissions from ships are successful or not.

    [mailchimp_signup][/mailchimp_signup]It seemed something of a breakthrough at the end of last year when it emerged that, despite determined opposition from some developing countries, the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) for new ships would be put to July’s IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee for adoption as an amendment to Annex VI of MARPOL, the IMO’s marine pollution convention. Only those IMO members who have ratified Annex VI can vote on whether to include the EEDI. Five EU members plus Monaco have not yet done so.

    The situation could be something of an embarrassment for the EU, which has criticised the IMO in recent years for its slow progress in tackling shipping’s environmental impact. Now the IMO has something meaningful on the table, the EU is in danger of not having all its votes available. Developing countries led by China and Saudi Arabia oppose the EEDI as a mandatory global standard. Their objections are not based on the measure itself – the EEDI will reduce ship emissions by up to 20% in 2030 – but because, as the world’s first globally binding climate measure, it would set an unwelcome precedent.

    The Clean Shipping Coalition’s letter calls on Hungary to coordinate an effort to quickly ratify the annex. Hungary is one of the six non-ratifiers, along with Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Malta and Monaco.

    • The Danish shipping line Maersk has ordered 10 new container ships that will be the largest ships in operation but will save fuel by travelling more slowly. The vessels will be built by Daewoo Shipbuilding of South Korea, and will replace Maersk’s own E-Class ships, which were the previous largest. The Daewoo ships’ engines will be 20% smaller than the E-Class, as they are designed for a speed of 19 knots rather than 23 knots, in order to save fuel and thereby make sea freight cheaper.