Greek Shipowners back proposal to limit main engine power of ships

In the context of materialising the United Nations International Maritime Organization’s (UN IMO) Initial Strategy for the decarbonisation of the shipping industry, Greece, as the leading traditional maritime country, has come forward with a concrete proposal for a short-term, prescriptive measure to improve the operational energy efficiency of existing ships, to be considered at the forthcoming meeting of the UN IMO’s intersessional technical group in November (11-15.11.2019).

Greece’s submission, building on an existing proposal backed by the International Chamber of Shipping and IMO Member States, supplements the strengthened Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (super SEEMP) in a way that the accomplishment of the UN IMO 2030 Target is ensured. This is because it guarantees, through the provision of one mandatory requirement for every ship of a particular sector, that there would be no intentional or unintentional circumventions of set technical requirements, which might otherwise be possible, for example, when providing various goal-based options.

The proposed measure prescribes the limit of the main engine power that ships over 5,000 GT can use under normal circumstances to maintain the level of CO2 emissions from ships at a historical low (2012) over a three-year phase-in period, commencing before 2023. The sectoral prescriptive approach it takes prescribes that bulk carriers and tankers reduce their main engine power by 50% and containerships by 66%. The measure includes a review clause to allow for rectifying action by the UN IMO, if necessary. 

The proposal is primarily compatible with the modus operandi of bulk/tramp shipping, where charterers play a determining role in the ship’s operation and this is why the shipowners’ commitment alone to a ship’s operational efficiency through goal-based measures, KPIs etc may not be enough to effect a change in the ship’s carbon footprint. “Charterers should clearly be obliged to adhere to any measure adopted to reduce GHG emissions from ships”, the President of the UGS, Mr. Theodore Veniamis underlined.

“We are especially pleased that our country is at the forefront of genuine efforts to come up with effective and feasible measures to combat climate change. Greece’s proposal is simple, transparent, easily enforceable and accommodates sectoral specificities without distorting competition, which is a paramount consideration. Moreover, it allows for early action and beginning of implementation prior to 2023, leads to direct absolute GHG emissions reductions, to SOx, NOx and underwater noise reductions, while it also factors in safety and allows for medium to long-term innovation, rewarding more efficient ships. Above all, it lays the foundation for the shipping industry to truly decarbonize by engineering the behavioral change required by all commercial operators of vessels to shift to zero-carbon technologies or alternative fuels when these become broadly available”, concluded Mr. Veniamis.

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