An extra session of IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) will be convened in December 2003 to consider the adoption of proposals for an accelerated phase-out scheme for single hull tankers, along with other measures including an extended application of the Condition Assessment Scheme (CAS) for tankers. The proposed amendments to MARPOL 73/78 were discussed during the week-long forty-ninth session of the Committee, ending 18 July. At its 49th regular session, the MEPC also finalized a new proposed draft convention on the management of ballast water and agreed on ship recycling guidelines.
The MEPC agreed on an accelerated phase-out for Category 1 tankers (pre-MARPOL tankers) which would bring forward the final phasing-out date for these tankers to 2005, from 2007. It also discussed the proposal to bring forward the phasing-out of category 2 and 3 tankers (MARPOL tankers and smaller tankers) to 2010, from 2015. While there was substantial support in principle to the 2010 deadline, there was also concern relating to the phase-out of tankers of less than 20 years old in 2010 that this would lead to. There was a suggested proposal, for further consideration in December, which could see the operational life of these tankers extending to 2015 or until the ship reaches a specified age (e.g. 20, 23 or 25 years), subject to satisfactory results from the Condition Assessment Scheme (CAS).The MEPC agreed, in principle, that the CAS should be applied to single-hull tankers of 15 years, or older (as against being applicable to all Category 1 vessels continuing to trade after 2005 and all Category 2 vessels after 2010.)