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Cablegate: International Maritime Organization (Imo): Report of The

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RR RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB
DE RUEHLO #7695/01 3041645
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 311645Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY LONDON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0159
INFO RUWDQAC/COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC//G-CI/G-L/G-LMI/G-P/G-PS/G-PSE/
RHEFHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHINGTON DC
RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 LONDON 007695

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STATE PLEASE PASS TO IO/OIC FOR M. MORRISSEY

E.O.12958: N/A
TAGS: IMO AORC UK EWWT PHSA SENV KTIA ASEC

SUBJECT: INTERNATIONAL MARITIME ORGANIZATION (IMO): REPORT OF THE
55TH SESSION OF THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION COMMITTEE (MEPC),
LONDON, 9 - 13 OCTOBER 2006.

1. SUMMARY: The 55th Session of IMO's MEPC convened 9-13 October
2006 under the chairmanship of Mr. A. Chrysostomou (Cyprus). The
meeting was attended by 86 members, one associate member, one
country not a member of IMO (Cook Islands), six United Nations
agencies, eight intergovernmental organizations, and 33
non-governmental organizations. All achievable U.S. objectives were
achieved. Items of particular note were:

A. A discussion on the oil spill in the Mediterranean Sea which
impacted the shorelines of Lebanon and Syria this past July. The
Secretary General acknowledged the countries and institutions,

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including the U.S., which provided assistance to the massive
response efforts.

B. Adoption of an MEPC circular on the eight Unified
Interpretations (UI) concerning implementation of MARPOL annex VI
and the NOx technical code and related implementation issues.

C. Adoption of five guidelines under the ballast water management
convention: G1 - Guidelines for Sediment Reception Facilities, G5 -
Guidelines for Ballast Water Reception Facilities, G11 - Guidelines
for Ballast Water Exchange Design and Construction Standards, G12 -
Guidelines on Design and Construction to Facilitate Sediment Control
on Ships, and G14 - Guidelines on Designation of Areas for Ballast
Water Exchange.

D. Completion of a review of technology under the Ballast Water
Management Convention resulted in the decision to make no changes to
the dates and discharge standard of the Convention as the technology
is likely to be available. The committee agreed to conduct another
review of technology at MEPC 56.

E. Agreement to grant basic approval to active substance proposals
for a special pipe ballast water management system combined with
ozone treatment, submitted by Japan, and for the ectosys
electrochemical system, submitted by Sweden. A submission for basic
approval to use ozone as an active substance by the republic of
Korea was not approved. END SUMMARY.

2. BALLAST WATER - A ballast water review group (BWRG) met under
the chairmanship of the UK (Brian Elliot) to consider the
availability of technologies for meeting the requirements of
regulation D-2 of the Ballast Water Convention: the ballast water
discharge standard. The BWRG considered information on 15
technologies submitted by members to MEPC 55 as well as the
information submitted to the previous review at MEPC 53.

A. Following extensive discussion, the group concluded that
type-approved ballast water management systems will likely be
available for installation on vessels prior to the first applicable
date of the Convention. The group identified several issues,
notwithstanding this conclusion, that could delay the availability
of technologies. Several delegations expressed concern that such
uncertainties create problems for ship owners, and the group put
forward two potential options for alleviating those concerns
(amending the Convention, granting exemptions). The U.S. delegation
questioned the legality of both of these options. The committee
noted the recommended options, and agreed to request that the legal
office of the organization provide an opinion on the availability of
the options. The committee also invited member administrations and
non-governmental organizations to recommend that owners allow for
technology (or its footprint) in ship designs and submit information
to the committee regarding:

(1) the availability, capability, capacity, and accreditation of
land-based testing facilities;
(2) the estimated number of vessels in the first category to which
the convention applies;
(3) the biological efficacy of systems in meeting the D-2 standard,
and any problems related to the type approval procedures adopted by
the organization; and
(4) suitable emission scenario documents.

B. Five guidelines under the Ballast Water Management Convention
were adopted: G1 - Guidelines for Sediment Reception Facilities, G5
- Guidelines for Ballast Water Reception Facilities, G11 -
Guidelines for Ballast Water Exchange Design and Construction
Standards, G12 - Guidelines on Design and Construction to Facilitate
Sediment Control on Ships, and G14 - Guidelines on Designation of
Areas for Ballast Water Exchange. G13 - Guidelines for Additional
Measures Including Emergency Situations - was not adopted despite
U.S. support for adoption, but was deferred to BLG 11. The work on
G13 at BLG 11 will be narrowly focused on clarifying the procedures
to follow when establishing additional measures.

C. The committee considered, but declined to adopt, the draft

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methodology of work developed by the GESAMP-BWWG for use in
reviewing proposals for approval of ballast water management systems
making use of active substances according to the G9 guidelines.
After significant discussion and expression of concerns by the U.S.
and other delegations, the draft methodology was referred to the
BWWG for further discussion and development at BLG 11 (April 2007)
in preparation for reconsideration at MEPC 56.

3. SHIP RECYCLING - The committee convened a Ship Recycling Work
Group (SRWG) which met under the chairmanship of Norway (Jens
Koefoed). The SRWG report and recommendations to the MEPC plenary
were adopted on October 12, 2006.

A. The committee agreed to the following:
(1) that the gross tonnage number delimiting ships to which the
convention applies is 500 gross tons;
(2) not to ask the ILO-IMO-Basel convention "joint working group" to
deliberate on the terms of the convention, but to defer to a
subsequent MEPC meeting whether the joint working group should
provide additional input under their existing terms of reference
(primarily reviewing existing guidelines);
(3) to develop guidelines (discretionary in nature) rather than
codes (mandatory in nature) as implementing guidance;
(4) to have an intersessional meeting in May 2007 hosted by the UK;
and
(5) to continue to work by means of a correspondence group
coordinated by Norway.

B. In addition, during the SRWG process, the U.S. was successful in
raising and retaining for future discussion, a number of key issues
including the inappropriateness of applying the convention to
vessels only used and recycled domestically.

C. Japan and Germany were identified to further develop guidelines
on hazardous materials and ship recycling facilities. The U.S.,
Denmark, and the UK made it clear that they would be offering their
assistance.

D. As expected, Basel Convention advocates - primarily Denmark, the
UK, and the Basel Convention Secretariat itself - continued to push
for inclusion of "equivalent levels of control" and other
Basel-associated concepts into the convention. They were largely
unsuccessful, but have retained the ability to continue to raise the
issues.

E. Four countries - India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and China, account
for approximately 85 to 90 percent of the world's ship recycling
capacity. Except for China, there was very limited participation on
this agenda item.

4. AIR POLLUTION - The committee considered two main aspects under
the agenda item on prevention of air pollution from ships: issues
under annex VI to MARPOL 73/78 and greenhouse gas emissions from
ships. Under those main aspects, the Air Pollution Working Group
(APWG) chaired by Japan (Bin Nakamura) discussed various issues
including: wash water discharge criteria for exhaust gas cleaning
systems (egcs); egcs for sulphur oxides (sox), seca egcs (sox) unit
certificate; updating the IMO greenhouse gas (GHG) study from 2000;
the voluntary co2 index; inputting data from the trials by members
using the co2 indexing scheme into gisis; and cooperation between
IMO and ICAO.

A. The major issue of contention was the GHG study. Several
countries, including the U.S., asked for more input into the study
before the Terms of Reference (ToR) were finalized. The European
countries and Japan pushed for finalization as soon as possible. The
group discussed a preliminary draft of the ToR, but due to a lack of
time, was not able to complete it.

B. Several countries presented the results of their co2 index. The
results were noted and discussion on updating the co2 indexing
guidelines was deferred until MEPC 58. There was discussion of how
to include this information into the Global Integrated Shipping
Information System (GISIS) database. The APWG created a draft of
what information would be needed in the database, and asked that it
be discussed at MEPC 56. Regarding cooperation between IMO and ICAO,
the APWG only discussed increased communication as a means for
further cooperation.

C. The committee recalled that it had previously approved
guidelines for use of egcs to remove sox from ship emissions while
operating in sox emission control areas established under MARPOL
annex vi. The committee determined it was necessary to establish
wash water discharge criteria for the wash water from an egcs and
considered two proposals at this session, one from the UK, and a
joint submission from Norway and Finland. After some discussion, the

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committee agreed to establish an intersessional correspondence group
to be coordinated by the U.S.(Wayne Lundy) to develop draft criteria
for wash water discharge from egcs (sox) using the submissions by
the UK, Norway and Finland as base documents, and this group will
report to MEPC 56.

5. INTERPRETATIONS AND AMENDMENTS OF MARPOL 73/78 AND RELATED
INSTRUMENTS -

A. Oil discharge control. Six papers were submitted concerning the
control of the discharge of oily wastes. They were referred to the
Design and Equipment (DE) subcommittee. In addition, the committee
included in the work program of the DE subcommittee and the
provisional agenda of DE 50 a review of the revised guidelines for
systems handling oily wastes in machinery spaces of ships
(MEPC.1/circ.511), with a 2008 target completion date.

B. Definition of "en route." Australia presented a proposal that the
term "en route" as used in MARPOL annex i should be interpreted
consistent with the definition of "en route" in regulation 1.6 of
revised MARPOL annex ii. Australia explained that the absence of a
definition in MARPOL annex i could lead to an interpretation that
discharges are permitted where a ship is under way but within
internal waters or port areas. The committee agreed to a unified
interpretation of "en route" in revised MARPOL annex i, regulation
15.2.1, to mirror regulation 1.6 of MARPOL annex ii, as follows:
"'en route' means that the ship is underway at sea on a course or
courses, including deviation from the shortest direct route, which
as far as practicable for navigation purposes, will cause any
discharge to be spread over as great an area of the sea as is
reasonable and practicable."

6. IMPLEMENTATION OF THE OPRC CONVENTION AND OPRC-HNS PROTOCOL - The
Secretariat briefed the committee on the status of the response to

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the oil spill in Lebanon. The U.S. delegation updated the status
report to indicate the recent $5m U.S. contract to work within the
international response effort.

A. The committee noted that the OPRC-HNS Technical Group (TG) held
its fifth session from 2-6 October 2006. The TG considered revisions
to:
(1) the proposed manual on oil spill risk evaluation and assessment
of response preparedness, an IMO/UNEP manual on the assessment and
restoration of environmental damage following marine oil spills;
(2) section v of the manual on oil pollution addressing
international conventions and salvage aspects;
(3) section i of the same manual addressing prevention issues under
the OPRC Convention; and
(4) the manual on chemical pollution section which addresses legal
and administrative aspects of HNS incidents.

B. The Technical Group also reviewed work toward an IMO
introductory training course on preparedness for and response to HNS
incidents and toward updating of the OPRC train-the-trainer course.
The Technical Group finalized and recommended to MEPC 55 issuance of
a circular describing briefing requirements for senior level
executives in the event of major oil spills.

C. The committee noted that the OPRC-HNS group, having had its
present Chairman and Vice Chairman serve the three-year term
stipulated in its terms of reference, unanimously elected Mr. Mark
Meza (U.S.) as the new Chairman and Mr. Nick Guinn (NZ) as the new
Vice Chairman for the next three-year period.

7. IDENTIFICATION AND PROTECTION OF SPECIAL AREAS AND PARTICULARLY
SENSITIVE SEA AREAS - The committee discussed two issues of
significant interest with respect to Particularly Sensitive Sea
Areas (PSSA). First, the committee adopted the U.S. paper that set
forth a review form to ensure the robust review of future PSSA
proposals.

A. Second, with regard to the Torres Strait, the committee
considered Australia's enactment of a compulsory pilotage scheme for
the Torres Strait and reiterated the recommendatory nature of MEPC
resolution MEPC.133(53). This was in response to a paper submitted
by the industry (ICS, INTERTANKO, BIMCO) which challenged
Australia's claim that MEPC.133(53) provided a basis for the
compulsory scheme. The chairman reiterated that the resolution was
recommendatory vice mandatory. Singapore then intervened to urge
Australia to bring their legislation in line with MEPC.133(53). In
addition to the U.S., the following delegations supported Singapore:
the Russian Federation, China, Japan, Norway, Greece, UK, Brazil,
Trinidad and Tobago, Panama, Nigeria, Bahamas, Chile, Republic of
Korea, Liberia, Latvia, Cyprus, Italy, Iran, Marshall Islands,
India, Thailand, INTERTANKO, and IMPA. Australia was supported by
Denmark, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea. The UK called for

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development of IMO guidelines to rigorously examine when states may
seek to make pilotage compulsory in international straits. The
committee agreed with the chairman's recommendation and the record
reflected that the adoption of resolution MEPC.133(53) was on a
recommendatory basis.

8. INADEQUACY OF RECEPTION FACILITIES - The committee discussed
regional arrangements for reception facilities in considering an
action item following FSI 14 to develop a MEPC resolution to
recognize regional arrangements for providing adequate reception
facilities. The committee recalled that MEPC 44 adopted guidelines
for ensuring the adequacy of port reception facilities in 2000 which
included that waste management planning on a regional basis can
provide a solution. Recognizing that the guidelines already address
regional arrangements and that the relevant MARPOL regulations
require each party to provide reception facilities, the committee
agreed that it was not appropriate to adopt a further resolution
recognizing regional arrangements as satisfying MARPOL obligations,
but agreed to request views at future sessions on how such
arrangements may be better institutionalized.

9. WORK OF OTHER BODIES -

A. The committee considered future funding mechanisms for GESAMP
and came to no conclusions. The U.S. delegation recommended that
the committee and the parties consider contracting competitively for
work on approved standards now being applied by GESAMP.

B. The committee accepted the report of the joint London
Convention-MEPC Correspondence Group. In particular, the committee
concurred with the view of the group that the approach to manage
spoiled cargo in most cases would fall under the London Convention
protocol. The committee also agreed to creating a working group to
be undertaken under the London Convention, aimed at developing
practical guidance for mariners regarding spoiled cargoes.

10. PROMOTION OF IMPLEMENTATION AND ENFORCEMENT OF MARPOL 73/78 AND
RELATED INSTRUMENTS - The international criminal police organization
(INTERPOL) presented information on its work to combat environmental
crime, including illegal oil discharges from ships, and requested
member states to provide to INTERPOL information on oil
pollution-related prosecutions. The committee supported the request
without discussion.

11. ELECTION OF THE CHAIRMAN AND VICE CHAIRMAN FOR 2007 - In
accordance with rule 17 of the rules and procedure, the committee
unanimously re-elected Mr. Andreas Chrysostomou (Cyprus) as
Chairman, and re-elected Mr. Ajoy Chatterjee (India) as Vice
Chairman, both for 2007.

12. NEXT SESSION - MEPC 56 will be held 9-13 July 2007. Major
agenda items will include ballast water management, ship recycling,
and air pollution from ships.

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