MARPOL Amendments to Annex II and the IBC Code - Entering into force on 1 January 2021

Chemical tanker

Following concerns raised about the environmental impact of permissible discharges from tankers carrying Noxious Liquid Substances (NLS), MEPC 74 in May 2019 adopted by way of IMO Resolution MEPC.315(74), amendments to MARPOL Annex II to strengthen discharge requirements for cargo residues and tank washings from such vessels.

  • Specifically, stricter pre-washing procedure requirements have been introduced for discharges containing persistent floating products (“persistent floater(s)”) with a high-viscosity and/or a high melting point that can solidify under certain conditions; examples include certain vegetable oils and paraffin-like cargoes.
  • The amendments apply to all owners and technical managers of chemical tankers, offshore supply vessels and other vessels with NLS Certificates.
  • The pre-washing requirements shall apply when the vessels are within a defined area stretching from Gibraltar in the south all the way along the Norwegian coast including the Baltic Sea, as well as the UK and Ireland.
  • Chemical tankers constructed on or after 1 July 1986 are subject to the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (“IBC Code”). The IBC Code provides an international standard for the safe carriage by sea of dangerous and noxious liquid chemicals in bulk. MEPC 74 adopted resolution MEPC.318(74) containing amendments to several chapters of the IBC Code. The amendment made to chapter 16 introduced prewash requirements in line with paragraph of MARPOL Annex II, for substances which are designated as persistent floaters. These amendments will enter into force on 1 January 2021.
  • An International Certificate of Fitness for the Carriage of Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (“Certificate of Fitness”) is issued for a chemical tanker engaged in international voyages complying with the relevant requirements of the IBC Code, after an initial or periodical survey.
  • As the amendments to Annex II and to the IBC Code impact on the Certificate of Fitness listing the products a tanker is certified to carry, the IMO decided that a new Certificate of Fitness based on the new amendments shall be issued prior to the entry into force date of the amendments.  
  • The new Certificate of Fitness will be kept on board with the existing certificate.  It will have the same expiry date as the existing certificate and is effective, and supersedes the existing certificate, on 1 January 2021.
  • When cargo is loaded prior to 1 January 2021, and unloaded after this date, the relevant provisions of the IBC Code at the time of loading are applicable until the cargo has been unloaded.
  • The amendments to the IBC Code list also impact the standard format of the vessel’s Procedures and Arrangements (P&A) Manual and Members are reminded to liaise with their Classification Societies for timely revisions or re-approvals, as appropriate, of their tankers’ P&A manuals to include amendments to MEPC.315(74) prior to the 1 January 2021 implementation deadline.

A reminder has also been issued by Bimco recently on these amendments, with an overview of the said amendments and their consequences. Members are directed to Bimco’s article here.

Jacqueline Tan

Legal Services Manager