Testing of the area around the sunken stern of the shipwrecked Rena has confirmed fears of elevated level of contaminants around the wreck. The presence of contaminants around the site had been expected and the samples are now undergoing further testing. According to Professor Chris Battershill from the University of Waikato sediment samples have shown elevated levels of contaminants including copper and PAH’s (polyaromatic hydrocarbons) which are known contaminants that were lost to sea from the Rena and its cargo. Early indications are that the contamination is localised.
Work to update the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions estimate for international shipping moved forward during an Expert Workshop at IMO Headquarters during 26 February to 1 March 2013. A final study is expected to be delivered in 2014. The second IMO GHG Study 2009 had estimated that international shipping emitted 870 million tonnes, or about 2.7% of the global man-made emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) in 2007.
NOAA released on early December 2012 an article regarding a collection of scientific papers about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America collection provides the first comprehensive analysis and synthesis of the science used in the unprecedented response effort by the government, academia, and industry.
The IMO MEPC held its 64th Session at IMO from Monday 1 through Friday 5 October with a high attendance of about 900 delegates. A Review Group on Ballast Water matters was formed together with 3 Working Groups on the subjects of Ship Recycling, Technical Co-Operation and Transfer of Technology, also Air Pollution and Energy Efficiency. In addition, 2 Drafting Groups studied Amendments to the IBC Code and Interpretations/Reports of sub-committees. Finally, an informal Technical Group met out-of-hours to report on the Saba Bank PSSA. The next MEPC meeting is scheduled during May 2013.
Last August the North America ECA low sulphur requirements came into force and as a result the sulfur content of the fuel oil used onboard ships operating in this area may not exceed 1.00% m/m (10,000 ppm). This new requirement comes to add further restrictions on the fuels’ sulphur levels and gives the PSCO the ability to examine either the vessel’s SMS or its equipment or relevant records on whether or not they are in line with ECA regulations.
EU and IMO differences for maritime emissions came to surface on a relevant conference hosted by the European Policy Centre and supported by the Mission of Norway to the European Union. Definite rules on emissions regulations might have not been discussed in depth, but what has been clearly understood from the different opinions that have been expressed is that EU and IMO are not in convergence regarding ship emissions although they both aim at the same target, that is to reduce emissions produced by the maritime industry.
A Greek shipping company must pay the US federal government $300,000 after admitting that one of its vessels discharged waste oil into the Atlantic Ocean, U.S. Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux Jr. announced Wednesday in Baton Rouge. “The oceans must be protected from shipping companies that look to cut corners by dumping waste improperly,” said Ivan Vikin, special agent-in-charge of the EPA’s criminal enforcement program in Louisiana.
It appears that one does not simply enforces ECA regulations in Alaska and walks away with it. Last Friday Alaska sued the Obama administration aiming to block EPA in extending the North American Emissions Control Area to Alaska. According to the submitted law suit as of 1st August 2012 vessels operating within 200 miles of the Southeast and Southcentral Alaska coastlines will be required to use fuel with a sulfur content that does not exceed 1,000 parts per million.
Two legal firms are preparing a class action lawsuit that is expected to be the country’s biggest environmental claim. North South Environmental Law in Auckland, assisted by Holland Beckett Lawyers (HOBEC) in Tauranga, has identified 150 claimants affected by the Rena grounding – and expects to add more in coming weeks. The claimants, all business owners, will become part of a joint lawsuit to bring proceedings against Greece-based Rena owner Daina Shipping Co.