The maritime industry, a cornerstone of global trade and commerce, is currently navigating a dynamic regulatory landscape that shapes its present and future. As we look ahead, several key items dominate the regulatory agenda for the maritime sector.
Environmental sustainability takes center stage, with increased emphasis on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adopting eco-friendly technologies. Safety remains a paramount concern, prompting regulators to enforce stringent measures to prevent accidents and enhance emergency response capabilities.
Additionally, the evolving geopolitical landscape and its impact on maritime security are prompting regulatory bodies to reassess and strengthen international cooperation. In this era of transformative change, stakeholders in the maritime industry must closely monitor and adapt to the evolving regulatory agenda to ensure a sustainable, secure, and technologically advanced future.
Let’s have a look at what to expect within this new year from a regulatory perspective
EU ETS directive to include shipping from 2024
The EU’s legislative bodies have adopted a revision of the EU ETS directive to include shipping from 2024. This entails a three-year phase-in period, increasing in scope from 40% of emissions in 2024 to 70% in 2025 and 100% in 2026. It applies to cargo and passenger ships above 5000 GT from 2024 and offshore ships above 5000 GT from 2027. The EU ETS will initially cover carbon dioxide emissions and be widened to include methane and nitrous oxide from 2026. Offshore ship and general cargo ships between 400 and 5000 GT will also be required to report emissions and may be included in the EU ETS at a later stage.
EU MRV Regulation to extended to include methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O)
The EU MRV regulation was amended on 10 May 2023 in order to provide for the inclusion of maritime transport activities in the EU Emissions Trading System and for the monitoring, reporting and verification of emissions of additional greenhouse gases and emissions from additional ship types. As from 1 January 2024, the scope of the EU MRV Regulation shall be extended to include methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). As such, from 1 January 2024, shipping companies must monitor and report methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions, in addition to CO2 emissions, using the THETIS MRV module. The revised monitoring plan shall be submitted no later than 1 April 2024, for approval, to the responsible Administering Authority after being assessed by a verifier. The attribution of each company to the Administering Authority of a Member State will be stated in a list published by the European Commission by 1 February 2024, and every two years thereafter.
IP Code mandatory for all cargo ships from July 2024
The IMO has adopted a new mandatory International Code for Safety for Ships Carrying Industrial Personnel (IP Code). It is mandated through a new Chapter XV in SOLAS, which enters into force on 1 July 2024. The new code applies in its entirety, on or after 1 July 2024, to cargo ships and high-speed cargo craft that are:
Maritime Single Window becomes mandatory from January 2024
From 1 January 2024 – it will be mandatory for ports around the world to operate Maritime Single Window for the exchange of information required at the point of a ship’s arrival, during its stay and at departure, the IMO has informed. The change is in line with international shipping’s aspirations to accelerate digitalization and decarbonization of the sector and is the result of amendments to the FAL Convention.
STCW under review: Important dates to keep in mind within 2024
The IMO Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) has decided to initiate a review of the STCW Convention and Code that will go through several phases, with a view to be completed by the autumn of 2027.
Find herebelow important dates of the key changes that are expected for adoption within 2024:
February 2024: HTW 10
May 2024: MSC 108
Summer 2024: Council 132
December 2024: MSC 109
AMSA: Revised Marine Order 12 effective from January 1st 2024
A revised Marine Order 12 (Construction — subdivision and stability, machinery and electrical installations) will take effect on 1 January. Marine order 12 implements internationally consistent standards for construction of vessels in relation to subdivision and stability, machinery and electrical installations, and additional requirements for Regulated Australian Vessels that are offshore supply vessels. International vessels visiting Australian ports may be subject to a port State control inspection to ensure they meet these standards.
AMSA: Revised Marine Order 27 effective from January 1st 2024
A revised Marine Order 27 relating to navigation safety measures and equipment, radio equipment, and safety, urgency and distress communication will take effect on 1 January 2024. Marine Order 27 (Safety of navigation and radio equipment) 2023 is a reissue of Marine Order 27 (Safety of navigation and radio equipment) 2016 Compilation no.3, Compilation date: 1 January 2020. Marine Order 27 gives effect to SOLAS Regulations relating to radiocommunications and safety of navigation and sets out the requirements for navigation safety measures and equipment; radio equipment; and danger, urgency and distress signals and messages
Prohibition of asbestos in the MODU Code
Provisions in SOLAS Chapter II-1 have restricted the use of new materials containing asbestos since 2002 and have prohibited their use since 2011. Unified Interpretations and guidance to SOLAS Regulation II-1/3-5 are available in MSC circulars. The 2009 MODU Code has prohibited the use of asbestos on new units from 2012, but no provisions in the 1979, 1989 or 2009 MODU Codes restrict new installations which contain asbestos on existing units, and no guidance has been available. MSC 107 approved draft amendments to the MODU Codes to implement the wording and guidance for an asbestos ban on new installations on existing units in the non-mandatory MODU Code in alignment with that contained in SOLAS. The amendments will be effective on 1 January 2024.
Which amendments become effective from January 2024:
Amendments to SOLAS regulation II-1/3-8 to cover mooring arrangements
Four new paragraphs will be added to the current regulation II-1/3-8n to address:
Three sets of supporting guidance covering design, maintenance and the strength of mooring equipment have also been produced
Amendments to SOLAS chapter II-1 concerning doors, hatches and valves which pierce watertight boundaries
Amendments to the following regulations are agreed:
Amendments to SOLAS chapter II-1, requirements for water level detectors on multiple hold cargo ships other than bulk carriers and tankers
New regulation II-1/25-1 was adopted by MSC 103 with the intent to capture all ships – except for bulk carriers – which are currently not required to have a water level detection alarm. The requirement applies to the ships irrespective of length, presence of wing tanks or applied damage stability standard. Bilge alarms, which are commonly installed on cargo ships that do not carry bulk cargoes, will no longer exclusively fulfil the requirements of the proposed new regulation, and additional detectors will be required to do so. As this is not retrospectively applied, this gives owners and builders time to gain awareness and understand the commercial ramifications of this regulation. New SOLAS regulation II-1/25-1 deviates from SOLAS II-1/25, in that, the latter is dependent on the ship’s length which is not the case for the newly proposed regulation. Therefore, a review of SOLAS II-1/25 could be expected in the future to maintain consistency.
Amendments to SOLAS Chapter III, the LSA Code and MSC 81(70) as amended, and MSC Circular on voluntary early implementation of the amendments
SOLAS regulation III/33.2 and paragraph 22.214.171.124.2 of the LSA Code currently refers to ‘lifeboats’ which could be read as ‘all lifeboats including free-fall lifeboats (FFLB)’. The IMO agreed that the text should be clarified so that this regulation should only be applicable to davit-launched lifeboats. These amendments to SOLAS regulation III/33.2 and para 126.96.36.199.2 of the LSA Code remove the requirement to launch free-fall lifeboats with the ship making headway at speeds up to 5 knots in calm water.
Amendments to Chapter 9 of the FSS Code
Amendments to the FSS Code chapter 9 to add a new paragraph 2.1.8 have been agreed:
“2.1.8 In cargo ships and in passenger ship cabin balconies, where an individually identifiable system is fitted, notwithstanding the provisions in paragraph 188.8.131.52, isolator modules need not be provided at each fire detector if the system is arranged in such a way that the number and location of individually identifiable fire detectors rendered ineffective due to a fault would not be larger than an equivalent section in a section identifiable system, arranged in accordance with paragraph 2.4.1.”.
Amendments to FSS Code Chapter 15
These Amendments clarify the location of the valve that isolates the inert gas main form the external supply of inert gas, and associated instrumentation requirements. Amendments to LSA Code Paragraph 184.108.40.206 concerning the exemption of the requirement for buoyant oars in lifeboats with two independent propulsion systems. The amended text allows that, for a lifeboat that is equipped with two independent propulsion systems, there is no longer any requirement to carry buoyant oars. This amendment is only applicable to lifeboats with two independent propulsion systems and revokes MSC.1/Circ.1597. It will enter into force 1 January 2024. Until then MSC.1/Circ.1597 remains extant.
Amendments to the LSA Code paragraph 220.127.116.11 – to allow the use of hand-operated mechanisms for the launching of rescue boats
The amendments allow hand-operated mechanisms for launching rescue boats on cargo ships equipped with a rescue boat which is not one of the ship’s survival craft and has a mass of not more than 700 kg in the fully equipped condition, with an engine, but without the crew. It includes the means of embarkation for the crew and an additional requirement for means to bring the rescue boat against the ship’s side and holding it alongside so that persons can be safely embarked.
Amendments to IGC code (Paragraph 18.104.22.168) & IGF Code (Paragraph 22.214.171.124) on the use of materials such as aluminium alloys – Welding of metallic materials and non-destructive testing for the fuel containment system
Paragraph 126.96.36.199 of the IGC Code and paragraph 188.8.131.52 of the IGF Code are amended to read:
“.1 tensile tests: cross-weld tensile strength shall not be less than the specified minimum tensile strength for the appropriate parent materials. For materials such as aluminium alloys, reference shall be made to 184.108.40.206 with regard to the requirements for weld metal strength of under-matched welds (where the weld metal has a lower tensile strength than the parent metal). In every case, the position of fracture shall be recorded for information;”.
Amendments to the IGF Code (Various – including definitions, probability index fv, loading limit, fuel distribution, internal combustion engines, fuel containment system, type C tanks)
The amendments to parts A and A-1 of the IGF Code amend:
Amendments to the 1988 Load Line Convention; the IBC and IGC Codes and MARPOL Annex I regarding watertight doors on cargo ships
These amendments align the requirements with respect to doors in watertight bulkheads with that of the SOLAS Convention and allow for hinged watertight doors where previously the regulations only included remotely operated sliding watertight doors:
Amendment to the IGF Code paragraph 220.127.116.11 concerning the regulation for pressure relief system
The amended text removes tank cofferdams from the spaces required to have a pressure relief system. Amendment to the IGF Code with a new paragraph 11.8 concerning the regulation for fuel preparation room fire-extinguishing systems A new requirement is added for fixed fire extinguishing systems in fuel preparation rooms containing pumps, compressors or other potential ignition sources for compliance with the provisions of SOLAS regulation II-2/10.4.1.1, taking into account the necessary concentrations/application rate required for extinguishing gas fires.
Amendments to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code (41-22)
In addition to the regular updates to classification, segregation, packing and marking of dangerous goods, the Amendment 41-22 includes (but is not limited to):
Which amendments become effective from May 2024:
Amendments to MARPOL Annex V – Garbage Record Book
The amendments mean that vessels of 100 GT and above will now require to keep a Garbage Record book onboard.
Amendments to MARPOL Annex VI, Appendix IX – Information to be submitted to the IMO Ship Fuel Oil Consumption Database (Regulation 27)
MARPOL Annex VI, Appendix IX is updated to include information on attained EEXI and EEDI and relevant information on carbon intensity for ships required to comply with MARPOL Regulation 28.
Amendments to MARPOL Annex VI, Appendix V – Information to be included in the bunker delivery note (Regulation 18.5)
A new item is added to the BDN – “The flashpoint (°C)specified in accordance with standards acceptable to the Organisation* or a statement that flashpoint has been measured at or above 70°C* ” with a reference note that says ” * ISO 2719:2016, Determination of flash point – Pensky-Martens closed cup method, Procedure A (for Distillate Fuels) or Procedure B (for Residual Fuels).”
Amendments to MARPOL Annex VI – Regulation 14 and Appendix VII – Mediterranean Sea Emission Control Area (ECA) for Sulphur Oxides (SOx) and Particulate Matter
The proposed regulation will include the Mediterranean Sea as an Emission Control Area for Sulphur Oxides and Particulate Matter.
From 1 May 2025 all ships operating in the Mediterranean SOx ECA will: