Small waves, big impact

New MARPOL amendments come into effect

Changes have been made to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), affecting all member states. The amendments cover topics including data reporting of fuel oil consumption and garbage classification to make way for cleaner shipping in the future. So what’s new?

MARPOL was introduced in 1973 to limit marine pollution and protect the environment. Numerous measures for cleaner shipping have been introduced since then, including the 2020 global sulfur limit which has created a huge stir in the maritime industry. The latest update to the convention was released in March 2018. Alongside amendments to simplify the Supplement to the International Oil Pollution Prevention (IOPP) certificate, which relates to segregated ballast tanks, the latest requirements include stricter garbage disposal and data collection on fuel oil.


Ballast Water Management Convention

On September 8, 2017, the IMO introduced the Ballast Water Management Convention to help prevent the spread of potentially harmful invasive aquatic species in ballast water. The international regulation requires ship to exchange ballast water away from coastal waters. By 2024, all new and existing ships will be required to comply with the full set of standards. For more information, watch this video from the IMO.


Getting the industry shipshape

A key focus of the amendments is on fuel oil consumption. Operators of ships of at least 5,000 gross tonnage will be required to collect data about fuel and report it to the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The aim of this change is to provide the IMO with information that will help it improve energy efficiency in shipping.

Smart monitoring systems such as BlueMon will become increasingly beneficial to operators. Using flow sensors, these smart monitoring systems can provide an overview of fuel consumption. This enables ship operators to accurately store and report the required data and use it as evidence in the case of disputes. Data collection will begin in January 2019.

Ship operators can also use the Energy Efficiency Operational Indicator (EEOI) to measure the carbon footprint and fuel efficiency of vessels in operation. This works on the basis of a conversion factor defined by the IMO. The EEOI can be used to calculate the CO2 emissions of the five main types of fuel: diesel/gas oil, light fuel oil (LFO), heavy fuel oil (HFO), liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Also entering into force: new regulations for environmentally friendly management of garbage which address cargo residues that may be harmful to the marine environment. MARPOL states shipping organizations must now declare if their waste or cargo is hazardous, classify it into categories, and use placards to note discharge requirements. Garbage categories have also been amended and include a newly defined “e-waste” category—describing discarded electronic equipment that is potentially hazardous to humans or the environment. Operators are also required to employ a Garbage Management Plan and keep a Garbage Record Book.

IMO was the first international body to adopt mandatory energy-efficiency measures for an entire industry […]. By 2025 new ships built will be 30% more energy efficient than those built in 2014.


New regulations for a greener future Global governments and administrations are now placing a greater focus on safeguarding the planet against environmental damage. The MARPOL amendments certainly contribute to this common goal and it is now up to ship operators to comply—much of which only requires simple steps. To find out more, visit the IMO website.



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| 2018-25-05 | 05:03
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