Environmental Compliance for the Marine Industry

 Tanker

In an ever-changing regulatory environment, ABS continues to be the shipping industry’s leading resource for guidance on new environmental regulations and compliance solutions. Shipowners, builders and operators must stay on top of the numerous regional, domestic and international environmental requirements and understand the impact of these requirements on maritime transport.

International Laws and Regulations

Evolving international and regional environmental policies are driving stricter requirements for vessel efficiency and environmental performance.

Because the maritime industry is global, shipowners and operators are subject to the requirements of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as well as local shipping ports, coastal authorities, flag administrations, and other regional governing bodies.

The IMO, a specialized agency of the United Nations, sets global standards for international shipping safety, security and environmental performance. Its main role is establishing a regulatory framework that is fair and effective, universally adopted and implemented within the shipping industry. 

Measures cover all aspects of international shipping – including ship design, construction, equipment, manning, operation and disposal – so that the sector remains safe, environmentally sound, energy efficient, and secure.


Compliance Support for Vessel Owners and Operators

For long-term sustainability, industry must continuously improve the environmental performance of its vessels to comply with the latest regulations. ABS is committed to helping the marine and offshore industries meet its environmental objectives and remain responsible stewards of the environment.

In recent years, the marine industry has seen an influx of environmental regulations that can be overwhelming to a shipowner’s operations, because understanding complex and sometimes overlapping compliance regulations – and the operational impact of various environmental compliance solution options – requires a significant investment of time and money.

There is not one simple solution for environmental compliance. Often, shipowners and operators must tailor their compliance solutions to a specific vessel or their fleet. While new technological advancements have created more compliance options, shipowners must carefully evaluate which solution makes the most sense for their operations.


Environmental Compliance Services at ABS

ABS is the leading classification organization for guidance on environmental compliance. We provide industry stakeholders with technical and operational support for regulatory compliance solutions on a full range of topics, including air emissions, ballast water, biofouling and polar operations.

The ABS Advisory Services team identifies and advances new technologies to support compliant operations for the marine and offshore industries. Our team has unrivaled technical experience in environmental compliance solutions including alternative fuels, exhaust emissions abatement systems and ballast water management.

We have partnered with companies across the globe, better informing their decision-making and helping them achieve compliance. Our environmental solutions aim to help industry achieve high environmental performance in a cost-efficient manner.

Whether a company needs clarification on impending regulations or is seeking the latest information on a new compliance technology, the ABS team can provide shipowners and operators with data to aid them in finding the optimal solution for their fleet.


Environmental Compliance Services

The impending IMO Global Sulphur Cap comes into place beginning Jan 1, 2020 requiring a .50% cap on sulphur content in marine fuel. This regulation introduces new challenges for the shipping industry and raises concerns with fuel availability and price uncertainty, as well as questions on the installation and operational impacts of exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS).

ABS offers the marine and offshore industries guidance and advisory support to help companies meet Global Sulphur Cap requirements. From understanding the requirements and available options to developing a compliance approach to execution and operations, ABS has tools and services to help you make the best decision for your fleet.

For more information on IMO Global Sulphur Cap, visit here.

Along with the transport of goods, shipping moves between three and five billion tons of ballast water throughout the world each year. There is a wide variety of systems types and technologies that have been Type Approved by the IMO and U.S. Coast Guard.

With so many options, the main challenge for shipowners and operators is which ballast water management system best meets the unique technical and operational needs of their fleets. In the United States, flagged vessels—in addition to ships calling at US ports—also are subject to the specific national requirements from the United States Coast Guard. Additional regional requirements exist elsewhere as well. [CJ1] Moreover, operators must ensure that BWMS limitations do not interfere with their vessel’s trade routes.

For more information on Ballast Water Management Systems, visit here.

Since January 1, 2018, the European Union (EU) requires any vessel over 5,000 gross tonnage (GT) that calls at an EU port to monitor, report and verify CO2 emissions each year. Shipowners and operators must have a verified monitoring plan in place and report regularly. The EU plans to use this data to monitor and guide future reductions of CO2 emissions.

Monitoring and annual reporting can be a burden unless vessel operators have a clear plan in place for calculating CO2 emissions and collecting the required documentation. ABS helps shipowners and operators assess their existing EU MRV monitoring plan and verify that the emission report is in conformance with the accepted monitoring plan.

ABS NS Voyage Manager software captures and manages CO2 emissions data and generates reports for compliance with EU MRV standards.

For more information on EU MRV, visit here.

Biofouling is an accumulation of different aquatic organisms on the submerged parts of a ship such as the hull. During MEPC 62, the IMO approved guidance to control and manage ships’ biofouling. This guidance helps minimize the transfer of invasive aquatic species between bodies of water. In addition to the IMO guidance, other nations and regions have specific biofouling regulations.

ABS provides support for implementation, monitoring and maintenance of Biofouling Management Systems. There are several compliance options available for biofouling management, and ABS can help operators assess their options such as anti-fouling coatings or fouling control systems.

For more information on Biofouling, visit here.

Every year hundreds of ships are dismantled at shipyards with steel and other equipment salvaged for future use. The EU adopted its Ship Recycling Regulations (SRR) in 2013. The EU SRR is similar to the IMO requirements for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (HKC). While the IMO requirements have been adopted, IMO member states have not ratified the requirements.

The EU SRR is in effect and will further require all vessels calling at EU ports to have an Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM) by December 31, 2020. To meet the current EU regulations and upcoming IMO requirements, shipowners and operators must identify the types and quantities of hazardous materials onboard their fleets. ABS can aid ship owners in preparing a Ship Recycling Plan as well as their IHMs and to comply with these requirements.

For more information on Ship Recycling, visit here.

Commercial transportation ships are a significant source of noise in coastal areas. These noises adversely affect many marine mammals in their natural habitats.

New ABS-classed vessels are designed to minimize ship-radiated noise. Additionally, modifications can be made to existing ships’ propellers. This modification will improve the propeller wake flow, reduce acoustic noise and improve operational efficiency.

For more information on Ship Radiated Noise, visit here.

Beginning January 1, 2019, IMO DCS requires vessel owners and operators to report emissions data to their vessel’s Flag Administration at the end of each calendar year.

For owners who have an existing EU MRV plan in place, much of the necessary data is likely already collected for EU compliance. ABS provides an easy-to-use template to help owners fill in the gaps between EU MRV and IMO DCS compliance.

For those without an existing EU MRV plan, ABS offers a simple template to support a compliant Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP).

ABS also offers additional support through its compliance software, NS Voyage Manager, which captures and manages CO2 emissions data and generates report for compliance with IMO DCS standards.

For more information on IMO DCS, visit here.

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