C24029 | 02 July 2024

Notice to: Ship Owners / Managers/ Operators / Surveyors / Auditors :

The IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) held its 81st session from the 18th to the 22nd of March 2024.

Topics covered included:

  •  GHG emissions from ships
  • Energy efficiency of ships
  • Marine litter
  • Ballast Water Management Convention
  • Emission Control Areas
  • The Hong Kong Convention on Ship Recycling
  • Marine diesel engine replacing a steam system


GHG emissions from ships

The MEPC agreed on an outline for a possible net-zero framework, which could include a new Chapter 5 of MARPOL Annex VI and include:

  • A goal-based marine fuel standard, regulating the phased reduction of marine fuel’s GHG intensity, and
  • An economic mechanism to incentivise the transition to net-zero.


The MEPC also adopted the revised “Guidelines on life cycle GHG intensity of marine fuels” (LCA Guidelines)

Energy Efficiency


The MEPC adopted:

  • The updated 2024 Guidelines for the development of a Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP).
  • The updated 2024 Guidelines for Administration verification of ship fuel oil consumption data and operational carbon intensity.
  • The updated 2024 Guidelines on the shaft/engine power limitation system to comply with the EEXI requirements and use of a power reserve.


The MEPC also approved:

  • The Procedure for reporting to the Organization of uses of a power reserve.
  • The unified interpretations to regulations 2.2.15 and 2.2.18 of MARPOL Annex VI which will be disseminated as MEPC.1/Circ.795/Rev.9


Marine Letter

The MEPC adopted amendments to MARPOL Protocol I, referencing a procedure for the mandatory reporting of lost freight containers. The amendments are expected to enter into force on the 1st of January 2026.

Ballast Water Management Convention

The MEPC adopted:

  • Amendments to the BWM Convention concerning the use of electronic record books. The amendments are expected to enter into force on 1 October 2025.
  • A resolution on Interim guidance on the application of the BWM Convention to ships operating in challenging water quality conditions;


“Guidance for the temporary storage of treated sewage and/or grey water in ballast water tanks” was approved.

Emission Control Areas

Two proposals for the designation of Emission Control Areas (ECAs) were approved:

  • An ECA in Canadian Arctic Waters, for Nitrogen Oxides, Sulphur Oxides, and Particulate Matter; and
  • An ECA in the Norwegian Sea for Nitrogen Oxide and Sulphur Oxides.


The earliest entry-into-force date of the amendments would be the 1st of March 2026. Note however that under MARPOL Annex VI, Regulation 14, ships operating within these new ECA’s are exempt for the first 12 months after entry into force.


The Hong Kong Convention

The MEPC approved reporting formats and the future development of a GISIS module, to provide electronic reporting facilities, to assist with the implementation of the “Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (Hong Kong Convention)”, which is set to enter into force on 26 June 2025.


Marine Diesel Engines replacing a Steam System 

The MEPC adopted:

  • amendments to regulation 13.2.2 of MARPOL Annex VI on a marine diesel engine replacing a steam system. The amendments are expected to enter into force on 1 August 2025.
  • 2024 Guidelines as required by regulation 13.2.2 of MARPOL Annex VI in respect of non-identical replacement engines not required to meet the Tier III limit.


Act now

Ship Owners/ Managers/ Operators/ Surveyors/ Auditors are to take note of the above, especially the entry into force dates.

Dromon will revert with individual Circulars for each relevant Resolution of MEPC 81, as soon as their contents are finalized.

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