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MRV: The devil in the detail

20/11/2015
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[...] The verifier: Julien Dufour, CEO, Verifavia Shipping

Third pillar of the MRV is verification, an important pillar which ensures credibility of the system by ensuring that data reported by shipping companies is accurate and complete. The verifier role is threefold: to assess the conformity of monitoring in compliance with the MRV; to verify the data reported, to ensure with reasonable assurance that the procedures comply with emissions monitoring plan; and to issue a document of compliance that every ship will have to carry on board from 30 June 2019.

A lot of details remain to be confirmed. The Commission has set up two subgroups, one on monitoring and reporting, one on verification. Discussion will feed into the Commission’s work on the rules of the MRV. However, although a lot is still to be done, there is already enough detail for shipping companies to start monitoring and recording data.

There are still some outstanding issues with regard to the technical role of verification, such as the independent data the verifier will use to crosscheck the completeness of the list of voyages reported by the shipping companies. The regulation talks about using AIS data but there is a lot of uncertainty over how to make this happen.

Verification will be carried out by independent accredited verifiers, who will have to be accredited by national accreditation bodies. The timeline for accreditation will be very tight, process won’t start until the beginning of 2017, and first deadline is August 2017, so only a few months to accredit before verifiers can start assisting.

The regulation may look complex but at the end of the day it is about data that most shipping companies already collect in their departure, noon and arrival reports. The monitoring plan describes what they are already doing to collect data, transfer it to an IT system and combine it in the way required. Most companies are already doing it even if they don’t know it.

Verification is not that big of a deal either – it involves analysing data, redoing calculations, cross-checking and some basic statistical analysis to see if the data is plausible, complete, accurate. Verification fees will be based on market conditions and are fixed. I imagine the verification business will be competitive so you can expect very competitive rates.
Of course a global MRV is ideal but the European MRV is a good start. It’s a first step so will hopefully pave the way for a global system to be designed by IMO in the future. [...]

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