Trade association Interferry has welcomed the decision at last week’s session of the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) to proceed with a sector-specific methodology for establishing energy efficiency requirements for ro-ro cargo and ro-pax vessels.
The Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) requirements for most other ship types – due in force from 2013 – had been agreed during a previous session, when an extended timeline was approved for ro-ro ferries due to the extensive variation of ships within this segment.
Interferry then worked closely with flag states and other industry bodies in an informal working group which assessed seven different proposals for a fair and sustainable EEDI formula that did not penalise the specialised power requirements of ro-ro operations.
A proposal by Germany, Sweden and the European shipbuilders association CESA was supported by Interferry as meeting these requirements and has now been recognised by the IMO as the best way forward.
In essence, the proposal incorporates ship design features into the efficiency formula, which otherwise typically focuses on the amount of installed power in relation to the vessel’s size and speed. The complex ro-ro ferry segment regarded this as too simplistic an approach – notably because many ferries are one-off, bespoke designs for a particular route, rather than one vessel in a large series.
Johan Roos, Interferry’s executive director of EU and IMO affairs, says: “Our approach to a workable EEDI solution for ro-ro vessels was two-fold. Obviously it had to bring about absolute efficiency gains and a consequent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. But we also had to ensure that new ships can be built for all ro-ro markets taking into account any external factors - such as limitations on draught or length, or the need for having enhanced power to operate in tidal areas or across very busy straights.
“We look forward to finalising these crucial technical requirements during the next MEPC session in May 2013.”