The 74th session of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee formally adopted amendments to MARPOL Annex II and the IBC Code that have been under discussion for a number of years.  The amendments will enter into force on 1 January 2021.

Annex II has been amended following reports of residues of high viscosity and persistent floating substances washing up on beaches in northern and western Europe and will require a prewash to be carried out following discharge of vegetable oils and waxes in ports in the area.  The products to which this requirement will apply will be indicated in column o of chapter 17 in the IBC Code referencing a new para 16.2.7 in the Code.

Chapter 21 of the IBC Code, which sets out the criteria for the assignment of carriage requirements, has been extensively amended to ensure that measures imposed are appropriate for the degree of hazard posed by individual products.  Chapters 17 and 18, which list the carriage requirements for products have been revised to take into account the new criteria, as well as some revised GESAMP Hazard Profiles.  While there had initially been some concern that a number of high-volume products could result in Ship Type 1, that has not been the case.  The most significant effect of the changes will be a steep increase in the number of products classed as Toxic, with the various requirements that such a classification brings.   

The text of the MARPOL and IBC Code amendments can be found in the Members’ Area.