News 25 Nov, 2010

MARPOL - Amendments to Annex I

In July 2009, IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) adopted two new Resolutions setting out amendments to MARPOL, Annex I; MEPC.186(59) concerning measures to prevent pollution during ship to ship (STS) transfers of oil cargoes at sea, and MEPC.187(59) specifying amendments related to the onboard management of oil residues (sludge) and changes to the International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate (IOPP) Forms A and B, and the Oil Record Book, Parts I and II. The amendments are due to enter into force on 1 January 2011.

Amendments to MARPOL Annex I – Transfer of Oil Cargoes between Oil Tankers at Sea

A new Chapter 8 will be added to MARPOL Annex I on the “Prevention of pollution during transfer of oil cargo between oil tankers at sea” which will apply to oil tankers of 150 GT and above. Such tankers will be required to carry a Ship to Ship (STS) Operations Plan prescribing how STS operations will be conducted and must comply with the requirements of the STS Plan.  The STS Plan needs to be approved by the vessel’s flag state and must be placed on board no later than the date of the first IOPP annual, intermediate or renewal survey carried out on or after 1 January 2011. STS Plans are to take account of the information contained in the latest edition of the ICS/OCIMF “Ship to Ship Transfer Guide, Petroleum” and the IMO publication “Manual on Oil Pollution, Section I, Prevention”. The person supervising STS operations shall be qualified to a level that satisfies the training requirements outlined in the ICS/OCIMF STS Guide. The STS Plan may also be incorporated into an existing Safety Management System.

In addition to having an approved STS Plan on board, each tanker falling within the ambit of the new regulations must notify the relevant authorities of the coastal state at least 48 hours in advance when planning to conduct an STS transfer of oil within the territorial waters or the exclusive economic zone of a State that is a party to the MARPOL Convention. When advising the relevant authority the following information is to be provided as a minimum:

  1. Name, flag, call sign, IMO Number and estimated time of arrival of the oil tankers involved in the STS operations;
  2. Date, time and geographical location at the commencement of the planned STS operations;
  3. Whether STS operations are to be conducted at anchor or underway;
  4. Oil type and quantity;
  5. Planned duration of the STS operation;
  6. Identification of the STS operations service provider or person in overall advisory control and their contact information;
  7. Confirmation that the oil tanker has on board an STS Operations Plan complying with the requirements of Regulation 41 of MARPOL Annex I, Chapter 8.

If all of the above information is not available, the tanker due to discharge the oil cargo must inform the relevant authorities of the coastal state not less than 48 hours in advance that an STS transfer operation is due to take place and provide the missing information at the earliest opportunity.

If the estimated time of arrival of a tanker at the location or area for the STS transfer operation changes by more than 6 hours, the Master, owner or agent must provide a revised estimated time of arrival to the relevant authorities.

The details of the relevant authority for the coastal state may be found in the latest edition of the MSC-MEPC. 6/Circ. “List of national operational contact points responsible for the receipt, transmission and processing of urgent reports on incidents involving harmful substances, including oil from ships to coastal states”. This document usually forms part of the vessel’s Shipboard Oil Pollution Emergency Plan (SOPEP).

The new requirements will not apply to bunkering operations or to oil transfer operations involving offshore installations such as Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) installations or drilling rigs. Similarly the new regulations will not apply to STS operations necessary for the purpose of securing the safety of a ship, saving life at sea or for combating specific pollution incidents in order to minimise pollution damage. The regulations also do not apply to STS operations where either of the ships involved is a warship, naval auxiliary or other ship owned or operated by a State and used, temporarily, only on government non-commercial service.

Records of all STS operations are to be noted in the Oil Record Book, (as well as any additional records stipulated in the STS Operation Plan), and retained on board for at least three years.

The new requirements will become mandatory for STS operations conducted on or after 1 April 2012. However, STS operations conducted prior to that date but after the approval of the STS Plan shall, so far as possible, be carried out in accordance with the requirements of the STS Plan.

Amendments to MARPOL Annex I – Regulatory Amendments and Changes to the IOPP Certificate Supplement and Oil Record Book, Parts I and II

The amendments include changes to Regulations 1 (Definitions), 12 (Tanks for oil residues (sludge)), 13 (Standard discharge connection), 17 (Oil Record Book, Part I - Machinery Space Operations) and 38 (Reception facilities) and to the “Form of the IOPP Certificate” and the “Form of the Oil Record Book”. The changes and amendments clarify long standing requirements and remove existing ambiguities in order to facilitate regulatory compliance by ships’ crews.

New definitions have been added to Regulation 1 including, for the first time, ‘Oil residue (sludge)’, ‘Oil residue (sludge) tank’, ‘Oily bilge water’ and ‘Oily bilge water holding tank’. Of particular note is that oily bilge water is considered to be any liquid that enters the machinery space bilge system including bilge wells, bilge piping, tank top or bilge holding tanks.

The existing definition in Regulation 12 as to what constitutes oily residues (sludge) has been transferred to Regulation 1. In addition, a paragraph has been added to Regulation 12 stating that oil residue (sludge) may be disposed of directly from the oil residue (sludge) tank(s) through the standard discharge connection or any other approved means of disposal. The amendments also require the oil residue (sludge) tank(s) to be provided with a designated pump for disposal that is capable of suction from the oil residue (sludge) tank(s). They further state that the oil residue (sludge) tank(s) shall have no discharge connections to the bilge system, oily bilge water holding tank(s), the tank top or oily water separator(s). However, the tank(s) may be fitted with drains, with manually operated self-closing valves and arrangements for subsequent visual monitoring of the settled water, that lead to an oily bilge water holding tank or bilge well or an alternative arrangement provided such arrangement does not connect directly to the bilge piping system.

Other changes to Regulations 12, 13, 17 and 38 include replacing the word “sludge” with “oil residue (sludge)”. Similarly, the phrase “collection and disposal of oil residues (sludge and other oil residues)” in the Oil Record Book, Part I has been amended to read “the collection and disposal of oil residues (sludge)”. In addition, changes to the format of the supplement to the IOPP Certificate Form A (ships other than oil tankers) and Form B (oil tankers) have been made and also to the Oil Record Book, Parts I and II. Members are advised to ensure that their vessels start using the new editions of the Oil Record Book as from 1 January 2011.

The guidance contained in this article is an overview of the new regulatory requirements that will enter into force on 1 January 2011. Members are advised to check the detailed legislative requirements to ensure that their ships comply. In the event of any queries, please contact the Loss Prevention Department.