502 - 12/06 - Marpol Annex II and IBC Code Revision - Worldwide

Carriage in bulk of noxious liquid substances and chemicals is covered by regulations in SOLAS Chapter VII and MARPOL Annex II, as well as by the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (IBC Code).

Members involved in these trades should be aware that recent revisions to MARPOL Annex II and to the IBC Code will come into force with effect from 1stJanuary 2007 and will have implications for the validity of related certification. Concerns have been expressed in recent months by INTERTANKO, and by classification societies, that some operators have left their preparations too late to achieve new certification by the beginning of the year.

Under the revisions, four new pollution categories of noxious liquid substances are rated by their potential impact on the environment (and replace five categories in the current system). The new categories are Category X - major hazard; Category Y - hazard; Category Z - minor hazard; and Category OS - "other substances" with no risk (comprising only apple juice, clay slurry, coal slurry, dextrose solution, glucose solution, kaoline slurry, molasses and water).

As a result of the revisions, liquid products other than those defined as oil, cannot be transported in bulk, unless the product is categorized for inclusion in the IBC Code. The revised requirements will particularly affect vegetable oil cargoes, which from January 2007 will be newly categorised as Category Y cargoes only to be carried in ships holding a Certificate of Fitness issued under the revised requirements.

Amongst other requirements in the revisions are new stripping provisions to reflect lower permitted discharge levels for some products, and provisions for pre-washing of cargo tanks for many cargo types.

If your vessel currently has an "International Certificate of Fitness for the Carriage of Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk" (Chemical Code Certificate of Fitness), or an "International Pollution Prevention Certificate for the Carriage of Noxious Liquid Substances in Bulk" (NLS Certificate), you should be aware that these will cease to be valid on 1st January 2007, save in relation to carriage of cargoes loaded before that date.

A revised Procedures and Arrangements Manual ("P&A") needs to have been approved by the Classification Society for the ship and to be available on board, prior to the issuance of new certificates. In approving the P&A Manuals, classification societies have already advised that they will be paying specific attention to stripping and pre-wash requirement revisions.

Further Information

An excellent source of general guidance can be found in the INTERTANKO's Practical Guide to the Revisions to MARPOL Annex II - which is freely available at their website. For detailed advice on establishing new P&A manuals, and obtaining revised documentation, owners should contact their classification societies.

Source of information:

Alexandra Couvadelli

Thomas Miller (Hellas) Ltd.

Piraeus, Greece

Tel: +30 210 429 1200 6


Staff Author