Date set for ship emissions monitoring

United Kingdom

Two years from now, by 31 August 2017, owners, managers and operators of ships (“companies”) will have to submit to third party independent verifiers a monitoring plan indicating the method chosen to monitor and report on shipping emissions and other climate relevant information for each of their ships above 5,000 gross tonnage (GT). The new requirements form part of the new EU Regulation (No. 757/2015) on the monitoring, reporting and verification (Shipping MRV) of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from ships over 5,000 GT sailing in and out of EU ports which became law on 1 July 2015. To view the text of the Shipping MRV click here.

Content and submission of the monitoring plan

Article 6 of the Shipping MRV sets out broadly what the monitoring plan must cover by using a standardised template that will be provided by the Commission by virtue of subsequent implementing legislation. The monitoring plan will have to be periodically reviewed to reflect any changes or ownership or operational changes and any modifications will have to be approved by verifiers. The verifiers are to be independent third party verifiers accredited by national accreditation bodies established pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 which sets out the requirements for accreditation and market surveillance relating to the marketing of products.

The monitoring plan will need to be submitted no later than two months after each ship’s first call in a port under the jurisdiction of a Member State.

The monitoring plan will have to include complete and transparent documentation of the chosen monitoring method for the ship concerned and contain at least the following elements, amongst others:

  • the identification and type of the ship, including its name, its IMO identification number, its port of registry or home port, and the name of the shipowner;
  • the name of the company and the address, telephone and e-mail details of a contact person;
  • a description of the following CO2 emission sources on board the ship: main engines, auxiliary engines, gas turbines, boilers and inert gas generators, and the fuel types used;
  • a description of the procedures, systems and responsibilities used to update the list of CO2 emission sources over the reporting period;
  • a description of the procedures used to monitor the completeness of the list of voyages;
  • a revision record sheet to record all the details of the revision history.

The monitoring plan may also contain information on the ice class of the ship and/or the procedures, responsibilities, formulae and data sources for determining and recording the distance travelled and the time spent at sea when navigating through ice.

Modification of the monitoring plan

Companies (i.e. owners, managers and operators of ships) will need to check regularly, or at least annually, whether a ship's monitoring plan reflects the nature and functioning of the ship and whether the monitoring methodology can be improved. The monitoring plan will need to be modified when a significant change occurs to the extent that it impacts on the availability or the accuracy of the CO2 data such as, for example, a change in company ownership or where new CO2 emissions occur due to new emission sources or due to the use of new fuels not yet contained in the monitoring plan. Companies will have to notify the verifiers without undue delay of any proposals for modification of the monitoring plan and await approval.

Other key dates

From 1 January 2018, companies will be required to monitor emissions for each ship on a per-voyage and aggregate on an annual basis by applying the appropriate method chosen in their monitoring plan.

From 2019, by 30 April of each year, companies will be required to submit to the European Commission and to the authorities of the EU Member States an independently verified emission report concerning the emissions and other relevant information (such as distance travelled, time of journey, type of fuel used and cargo carried) during the annual reporting period for each ship under their responsibility.

From 30 June 2019 ships arriving at or departing from an EU port will need to carry on-board a document of compliance certifying the ship's compliance with the monitoring and reporting obligations for the 2018 period. This document will be subject to inspection by port state authorities.


Member States are to set up a system of penalties for failure to comply with the monitoring and reporting obligations. Each Member State will need to ensure that any inspection of a ship in a port under its jurisdiction carried out in accordance with Directive 2009/16/EC on port state control of shipping includes checking that a valid document of compliance is carried on board. In the case of ships that have failed to comply with the monitoring and reporting requirements for two or more consecutive reporting periods and where other enforcement measures have failed to ensure compliance, the competent authority of the Member State of the port of entry may issue an expulsion order which will be notified to the Commission, European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), the other Member States and the flag State concerned. As a result of the issuing of such an expulsion order, every Member State will then refuse entry of the ship concerned into any of its ports until the company fulfils its monitoring and reporting obligations, confirmed by the notification of a valid document of compliance to the competent national authority which issued the expulsion order.

Also, by 30 June each year, the Commission will make publicly available the information on CO2 emissions reported.

Regulation rather than directive

From a legal perspective it is important to note that this is a regulation and not a directive. Being a regulation the Shipping MRV became binding on Member States on the 1 July 2015 and does not require implementing domestic legislation in Member States. Having said this what we often find is that Member States do pass domestic law, if only to ensure that the EU regulation works properly in the Member State.


Some of the large global ship management companies have already embarked on the programme of piloting compliance with the Shipping MRV with a view to addressing any compliance issues early. The monitoring plan is the first of many milestones that make up the long term EU trajectory towards the reduction of maritime emissions and the MRV Regulation as a whole is a CO2 data gathering tool which is designed to inform policy makers on setting emission reduction targets and market based mechanisms for the shipping sector.

For more details on the Shipping MRV see our recent lawnow.