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Emissions verification moves ahead

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Emissions verification company Verifavia reports that in early March it was approved by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) as a global verifier for EU MRV (monitoring, reporting, and verification) services.

UKAS accreditation means Verifavia will be able to both assess monitoring plans and verify carbon emission reports under EU MRV, which comes into force next year, for ‘any ship anywhere in the world, regardless of country of ownership, flag state, or class,’ the company states.

‘We are proud to have earned this recognition by UKAS, which cements our position as the leading independent EU MRV verifier and one of the few accredited to offer both monitoring plan assessments and verification of emissions reports on a global basis,’ comments Verifavia CEO Julien Dufour.

Already active in the aviation industry, the company is a relative newcomer to the maritime sector – but is at pains to point out that it is not only maritime classification societies which are able to offer shipowners MRV services.

Since July 2015, when the EU MRV regulation was adopted, it has worked with many leading shipping names such as Grimaldi, DFDS, Seaspan, Synergy and Dynacom, the company points out.

Earlier this year, Verifavia partnered with Greek classification society INSB Class to offer its MRV services to contracted customers, and it plans similar partnerships in other strategic shipping locations. The company says it is ‘committed to helping ship owners and operators around the world navigate the complexities of this new environmental regulation confidently, competitively, and smoothly.’

However, the international shipping community as a whole remains distinctly unimpressed by EU MRV, which will apply to all ships of 5,000gt or over calling EU ports.

Alignment of IMO and EU schemes

Simon Bennett, director of policy and external relations at the ICS (International Chamber of Shipping), stresses that it is important to ‘align’ the separate IMO and EU CO2 verification regimes.

‘The IMO CO2 data collection system is seen by ICS as an acceptable compromise that will provide reliable information about fuel consumption in order to inform the development of
future IMO work on reducing the sector’s emissions,’ he says. But the EU has ‘pre-empted’ that IMO system by adopting a regional regulation on MRV.

‘In a welcome move, the European Commission has announced it is preparing recommendations on how the EU regime might be aligned with IMO,’ he continues, ‘although this process will probably take several years during which time all shipstrading with EU ports will have to comply with two differing systems.’

Bennett says that among the ‘unhelpful’ differences that need to be addressed is that the verification and accreditation process developed by the EC is overly complex. ‘EU climate officials seemingly wish to ignore the tried and tested processes for statutory certification used in international shipping, instead proposing an unjustifiably large administrative burden for ship operators,’ he says.

‘The EU verification system requires the use of verifier bodies accredited by national accreditation bodies similar to those associated with the EU Emissions Trading System, rather than flag Administrations and those Recognized Organizations (primarily classification societies) authorised to work on their behalf, as per the normal methodology used for certification in accordance with IMO instruments.’

In July, IMO will finalise guidelines which, among other things, will address flag state verification of CO2 data submitted by ships, informs Bennett.

‘Hopefully there will be a compromise acceptable to all IMO Member States, so – as is already the situation – should a flag Administration wish to authorise an RO to do CO2 data verification only, there would be nothing to prevent it from doing so, even if the RO
concerned is not authorised to conduct other surveys.

‘However, the EU also needs to send an early signal that it is truly serious about taking the necessary steps to align the many other aspects of the EU regime that currently differ from
the system agreed at IMO.


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