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EU passes ship emissions reporting law

The European Parliament has approved a regulation forcing transparent Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) in its waters, despite the objections of industry representative groups.

The legislation requires vessels over 5,000 gt, whether flagged in EU or non-EU countries, to publicly disclose their fuel efficiency and emissions from 2018.

The agreement has provoked major criticism from a large number of shipping industry groups - typified by ICS head Bimco secretary general Lars Robert Pedersen who called it “unhelpful” – for pre-empting a comprehensive worldwide MRV agreement by the IMO.

Speaking at Singapore Maritime Week last week, ICS chairman Masamichi Morooka criticised the regulations, which, he said, include elements that were rejected by a majority of governments at IMO, and could influence the progress of discussions which were "progressing well" at an international level. “There is a danger that the EU initiative will be seen by non-EU nations as an attempt to present them with a fait accompli.”

Late last year meanwhile, ICS alluded to "suspicion" amongst its members that EU intended to draft a mandatory operational Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) which could be used to impose financial penalties on vessels “regardless of their actual fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.”

The group also expressed concern that EU’s regional regime may be incompatible with the IMO’s system, jeopardising future negotiations and causing major problems for “developing countries such as China and India for whom additional CO2 regulations are a politically sensitive issue.”

This was then followed by the Hong Kong Shipowner’s Association (HKSOA), which argued the legislation “would appear to have been developed prematurely without the proper consideration of all the factors and unintended consequences that may result.”

A previous EU MRV target, including a 2009 estimate for a possible 75% reduction in shipping emissions, was last year criticised by ICS as “completely and utterly unrealistic”.

But Sotiris Raptis, clean shipping officer at NGO-umbrella group European Federation for  Transport & Environment (T&E), said that the new law “is expected to produce a virtuous circle of increased transparency, increased competition and greater fuel efficiency. But this is where our cheering stops. Given that the sector’s rapid growth is set to outstrip efficiency gains, only CO2 targets under the EU’s 2030 plan and Energy Union can deliver actual emissions cuts.

“The Marshall Islands, the existence of which is threatened by rising sea levels, has called for a global reduction target on maritime carbon emissions. When the holders of the world’s third largest shipping registry can see the existential threat posed by rising shipping emissions, it’s time for European nations to step up to the plate and support definitive action at the IMO,” concluded Raptis.

Posted 28 April 2015

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