IMO group proposes Amendments to MARPOL Annex VI


Maritime environmental matters have been very much at the fore in recent years, not least in response to growing concern about global warming and rising levels of air pollution.  The shipping industry has a big part to play in the climate crisis and in a series of brief bulletins, Justin Turner and I will be publishing some selected news highlights which illustrate the steps being taken in this respect.

Background: MARPOL Annex VI

The MARPOL Convention is the main international convention covering prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes. MARPOL Annex VI (in force since May 2005) limits the main air pollutants contained in ships exhaust gas, including sulphur oxides and nitrous oxides, and prohibits deliberate emissions of ozone depleting substances. The revised Annex VI (in force since 1 July 2010) sets limits on sulphur oxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from ship exhausts as well as particulate matter and prohibits deliberate emissions of ozone depleting substances.

Highlight: IMO proposes new measures to reduce global ship emissions

A working group of the International Maritime Organisation has drafted new measures designed to help cut carbon emissions from ships, marking a further step in the right direction to reduce greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions in the shipping industry.

The new recommendations, agreed last month, set out to further amend the existing MARPOL convention and would require a reduction in ships’ carbon intensity using both technical and operational measures – the aim being to reduce the carbon intensity of international shipping by 40% by 2030 (compared with 2008 levels).


In 2011, amendments to MARPOL Annex VI were adopted to make mandatory the Energy Efficiency Design Index (“EEDI”) and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (“SEEMP”), which still apply today. The MARPOL EEDI applies to newbuildings and requires that ships are built and designed to be more energy efficient than the baseline and aims at promoting the use of more energy efficient (less polluting) equipment and engines;  the SEEMP applies to all ships (including newbuilds) and is an operational measure that establishes a mechanism to improve the energy efficiency of a ship in a cost-effective manner.


The new draft amendments build on the measures set out above by bringing in the requirement to assess and measure the energy efficiency of all ships and to set the required attainment value.

A dual approach has been taken within these new amendments, to regulate both the technical and operational workings of the ship: the technical requirement to reduce carbon intensity, will be based on a new “Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index” (“EEXI”); whilst the operational carbon intensity reduction requirements, will be based on a new operational “Carbon Intensity Indicator” (“CII”)

The proposed draft amendments will be discussed by the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 75) during November 2020 and, if approved, could then be put forward for adoption in 2021.


*This publication is provided for your convenience and does not constitute legal advice. This publication is protected by copyright. © 2020 Hannaford Turner LLP

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