London - By 31 August 2017, every ship with a gross tonnage over 5,000 tonnes that calls at a European Union port will be required to have a carbon dioxide (C02) emissions monitoring plan. From 1 January 2018, the operators of these ships will have to compile an annual report on emissions, that data will be collected in a report on emissions that will be submitted to the authorities in the state whose flag the ship flies by 30 April of the following year.
The first reports will be submitted in April 2019. European Regulation 757 calls for the procedure, otherwise known as MRV (Monitoring, Reporting and Verification), which took effect on 1 July 2015. The regulation automatically took effect in all member states, including Italy. “The time frames for compliance,” Francesco Sacchetto, Sustainability Director for the PWC consulting company, explained, “are very short. Even if the they don’t impose particular costs on companies, the compliance will be demanding in terms of organisation, because for each ship in their fleet the operators will have to draw up a plan and then set up the instruments for monitoring, starting with the computer system.” The European Union is at the cutting edge in terms of greenhouse gas curbing measures and the application of the Kyoto Protocol. The “cap and trade” system for C02 emissions was introduced in 2005, creating a market for emissions.
The industrial companies in the sector that consume large amounts of energy will have to obtain permits to emit carbon dioxide, with precise limits on the number of tonnes emitted. The quotas (measured in EUA, or European Union Allowances, units that correspond to a tonne of CO2) are distributed annually in limited quantity. The most virtuous companies will not consume them all and will therefore be able to resell them to those who use more energy. “In the European Union,” Sacchetto explained, “this system affects half of the industrial world, but maritime and rail transport, road haulage, and civil aviation are still outside of it, as are domestic heating and air conditioning. The European Union wants to include these sectors, as well. Regulation 757 is the first attempt to involve the maritime sector.”
In 2018, ships will still not be included in the cap and trade system. That is, there will be no obligation to comply with emissions quotas and therefore, for the moment, it will be a measure that imposes no great financial burdens. But it will be necessary to start monitoring emissions ship by ship. The only units that will be exempted will be military ships or those that operate services for the State, fishing vessels, ships without engines, and historically built ships, like wooden sailboats.
The gradual introduction is based on the difficulties encountered when the system was introduced in the aviation sector in 2010. A two year moratorium on the requirement to purchase emissions on extra-European routes was necessary at that time, because of the opposition of some United States and Chinese companies that complained to the European Union. Now the Union wants to move in tandem with the IMO, but in the meantime it is starting the monitoring autonomously. On the other hand, at the recent COP21 climate event in Paris, the member countries did not succeed in adding shipping to the agreement.
The IMO has therefore not been given the authority to exclusively handle measures for the reduction of maritime emissions. According to the MRV regulation, operators must produce emission monitoring plans for every ship by the beginning of the accounting period, and update them with changes to the fleet and/or the ships’ sources of emissions or types of fuel (by 31 August 2017); accounting for CO2 emissions, based on the previously mentioned plans, is mandatory from the 1 January 2018; for every ship, in the context of the calendar year, accounting is based on every individual maritime voyage (between two successive ports) and separately, for the period of mooring or anchorage in port, and for the type of fuel; besides CO2 emissions, other information will also be accounted for.