Industry speaks out over CO2 monitoring

Patrick Verhoeven, secretary general, ECSA: Patrick Verhoeven, secretary general, ECSA: "there are concerns regarding data reliability and confidentiality"

The European Community Shipowners Association (ECSA) has given a guarded welcome to the recent informal agreement by EU legislators on the Commission proposal for a regulation on the monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of CO2 emissions for maritime transport.

ECSA says that the agreement paves the way for a European MRV system that will become operational as of 2018, applying to ships above 5,000 tonnes arriving and departing from EU ports, regardless of their flag and ownership, and adds that this should be a stepping stone towards a global MRV instrument, which is currently being discussed at IMO.

Apart from data on CO2 emissions and distance sailed, the negotiators agreed that the EU regulation will require ships to report cargo-related information.

“Whilst the inclusion of cargo-related information allows the measurement of energy efficiency of vessels, there are concerns regarding data reliability and confidentiality as well as reporting responsibilities and obligations”, said Patrick Verhoeven, secretary general, ECSA. “This explains why IMO approaches the issue with great care.”

“As ECSA we would have preferred the inclusion of cargo-related data to have simply been postponed until an agreement was reached at IMO. We do however acknowledge that the negotiators took some of our concerns into account and have strengthened provisions on international alignment. We will carefully assess these changes as soon as the full text of the agreement becomes available. We believe it is essential that industry is closely involved in any further steps, for instance on defining the metrics of cargo data,” Mr Verhoeven added.

The International Chamber of Shipping (ISS) has also expressed its disappointment and concern that the EU may pre-empt negotiations taking place at IMO by unilaterally adopting a regional Regulation on MRV of ships’ CO2 emissions, for formal adoption early next year.

ICS says while it supports the development of a global data collection system by IMO, the imminent adoption of a regional EU regime, which may not be compatible with whatever is agreed at IMO, will complicate and perhaps jeopardise these “delicate” negotiations.

Agreement at IMO will require the support of non-EU nations with which the vast majority of the global fleet is registered, including developing countries such as China and India for whom additional CO2 regulations are a politically sensitive issue.

Although the draft EU Regulation, which will not be fully implemented until 2018, contains text to the effect that the required data which shipping will have to provide can be amended to reflect agreement at IMO, ICS says it’s unclear whether the Commission will be willing to fully realign the EU rules with the agreed international consensus.

ICS adds that data on cargo carried by ships as required by the proposed EU Regulation will need to be handled with particular sensitivity because of the suspicion that this could lead to the development of a mandatory operational efficiency index. This could be used by governments to impose financial penalties on ships, regardless of their actual fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, with the risk of a serious market distortion.

The agreement on the EU MRV Regulation still needs formal endorsement from the European Parliament and Council of Ministers. ECSA believes that this process will not entail further changes to the specifics of the agreement and it is expected to be finalised by January 2015.

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