IMO Regulations

Currently and at the time of writing this document, there is no IMO regulation on OPS. In fact, IMO has developed minimal regulations on ports development/operation other than those that may directly be required for ship operation (such as reception facilities). Thus, there have been proposals to add some new regulations to MARPOL Annex VI on introducing some ships’ requirements for the future wider use of OPS. For example, it is proposed that ships should undertake an assessment of the environmental benefits as well as cost-benefit of addressing emissions from ships at berth. As part of this, it should be taken into account how the supplied electrical power is generated, and if similar environmental benefits could be achieved by other more cost-effective means.

As part of the proposed draft regulation submitted by Sweden to MEPC 55 in 2006, it is suggested:

  • Ships that can document that their on-board power production has lower total emissions than the supplied shore side electricity should, if no other local circumstances dictate otherwise, be exempted from the requirement to connect to shore-side electrical power.
  • No ship should be required to connect to OPS when the planned port stay at the actual berth is less than a couple of hours (e.g. 2 hours).
  • The port or terminal shall provide sufficient electrical power to sustain all normal operations during the port call, including calculated peak consumption.
  • The costs for the ship to connect to shore power at berth should not exceed the average comparable costs of port services in general and the cost of supplied electricity to shore based consumers within the vicinity of the port or terminal.

The apparent aim of the above proposals seems to be to protect ship owners from undue pressures by ports to force them to use OPS without good and reasonable business or environmental justifications.

Subsequently, IMO reviewed the situation in MEPC 64 meeting in 2012 and while considering various views including the above proposal concluded that:

“The majority was of the view that ports equipped with on-shore power supply are limited and mandatory requirements for the on-shore power supply should not be developed at this stage. The MEPC agreed to request the IMO Secretariat to disseminate the information relating to the on-shore power supply, e.g. lists of relevant standards and ports providing onshore power supply as MEPC.1/Circ.794.” (IMO MEPC 64/23). (MariEMS 2017).