By Capt. Soren Ibsen, VP of Milbros Systems
Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME) is a feedstock used to produce biofuel, and for several years it has been shipped on chemical tankers without proper classification. It has however been carried under existing entries in the IBC Code, such as “palm oil,” “palm acid oil,” and ʺnon-edible industrial-grade palm oil” – which is not a proper classification for POME.
Unfortunately, POME has not been properly reviewed and classified by the IMO, which continually puts ships and Masters at risk for detentions, fines, and/or arrests for being in violation of MARPOL Annex II regulations. Not being classified by the IMO may also mean that washing tanks of POME could be causing harm to the marine environment.
At the recent IMO/PPR 8 meeting held virtually 22-26 March 2021, paper PPR 8/3/1 was considered by the Sub-Committee, and the following was approved:
“Palm oil mill effluent (POME) technical oil” will be included provisionally in List 1 of the MEPC.2/Circular – and subsequently will be included in chapter 17 of the IBC Code when the Code is next amended – with the following carriage requirements:
Because proper data for POME cargo has not been submitted to the IMO, the IMO has taken a precautionary approach to further protect the marine environment by assigning this cargo to Pollution Category X.
In the IMO/PPR 8 meeting, all interested parties were invited and urged to submit additional data and information on this product to GESAMP/EHS and ESPH. Future submissions are expected, and upon further review, the carriage requirements may change and perhaps be downgraded from Cat. X to Cat. Y.
Moving forward, in order for ships to carry “Palm oil mill effluent (POME) technical oil,” an addendum to the ship’s Certificate of Fitness (COF) will be needed, and a prewash will be required at the discharge port.
Based on the addition of this product to List 1 of the MEPC.2/Circ., this then allows FAME produced from POME technical oil to be carried under the generic FAME entry in Chapter 17 “Fatty acid methyl esters (m)” Cat. Y.
The IMO website is expected to be updated with this new List 1 entry once MEPC 76 has endorsed the PPR 8 report. MEPC 76 is expected to meet 10-17 June 2021. Shipowners should contact their classification society regarding the timing of obtaining an addendum to the COF for the carriage of this cargo under these new carriage requirements.
This new product name has also been added to the Milbros system for easy reference and access.