From 6 to 10 June 2022, the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) has held their seventy-eighth session. Among other matters, the Committee approved a draft resolution establishing a new Emission Control Area (ECA) for the Mediterranean Sea as a whole.
The approval of this new ECA would require vessels to utilize fuel oil of 0.10%m/m sulphur content when operating anywhere within the Mediterranean Sea.
Proposal to Designate the Mediterranean Sea as an Emission Control Area for sulphur oxides and particulate matter
Document MEPC 78/11, which was submitted by all coastal States of the Mediterranean Sea, all Member States of the European Union and the European Commission, proposed to designate the Mediterranean Sea, as a whole, as an Emission Control Area (ECA) for sulphur oxides (SOx) and particulate matter (Med SOx ECA), and to take effect from 01 January 2025.
Members expressed support and noted that designation of the whole Mediterranean Sea as a SOx ECA area would significantly reduce emissions from ships and improve the air quality in the region resulting in substantial benefits for human health and the environment compared to the use of fuel oils with a maximum sulphur content of 0.50%.
The draft resolution will also provide amendments to MARPOL Annex VI that will acknowledge the Mediterranean Sea alongside other existing ECA’s, provide a formal description of the ECA by coordinates, and confirm the requirement of fuel oil with 0.10%m/m sulphur content when operating in this area.
The earliest date for entry into force of these amendments would be 01 May 2024. The final date will be agreed at MEPC 79, and there will be a 12- month grace period for enforcement following that date. The approved draft resolution will be presented for subsequent adoption at MEPC 79 this December.
RELEVANT DOCUMENT (AVAILABLE ONLY TO SUBSCRIBERS):
IDENTIFICATION AND PROTECTION OF SPECIAL AREAS, ECAs AND PSSAs
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