Ships’ CO2 emissions: MEPs approve new reporting rules 

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Draft EU rules requiring ship owners using EU ports to monitor and report CO2 emissions each year received the support of the House on Tuesday. The new rules, already informally agreed with the Council of Ministers, will apply from 2018 on to ships over 5,000 gross tons, regardless of the country in which they are registered, as a first step towards cutting their greenhouse gas emissions.

The text establishes an EU-wide system for monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of greenhouse gas emissions from shipping, in order to improve the information about ship efficiency and emissions and to encourage reducing emissions and fuel consumption.

"Maritime transport does not come under any greenhouse-gas emissions reduction measures" said José Inácio Faria (ALDE, PT), who drafted the second reading recommendation approved on Tuesday. “What we are looking at today is a first step to reduce emissions. If nothing is done, shipping emissions will go up by about 50% by 2030”, he said.

“This legislation is applicable to all ships using European ports, and will be an opportunity to influence negotiations within the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). We need to make sure that cooperation with our international partners is kept to, and make sure these steps give rise to an ambitious international agreement”, he added.

The MRV requirements will apply to CO2 emissions arising from voyages to, from and between EU ports. All ships over 5,000 gross tons will be covered, with the exception of:

  • fishing vessels (catching and/or processing),
  • warships,
  • naval auxiliaries,
  • wooden ships of a primitive build,
  • ships not propelled by mechanical means, and
  • government ships used for non-commercial purposes.

Reducing the administrative burden on companies

The plans also aim to minimize the administrative burden on companies and make the measurements as accurate as possible. Ship efficiency - measured in relation to the amount of cargo carried – will have to be reported for all categories of ships. However, detailed specific rules were introduced for each ship category.

Where an owner’s report on ship emissions meets the requirements, an independent verifier should deliver a document certifying compliance. Ships will have to carry these documents on board and will be subject to inspection by EU member states, who will also establish penalties for infringements.


International maritime shipping remains the only means of transport not yet included in EU measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This sector currently accounts for 4% of all EU greenhouse gas emissions, which are set to rise substantially in future.

Next steps

The text will be put to a vote in a forthcoming Council of Ministers meeting in order to come into force on 1 July 2015.

Procedure:  Co-decision, 2nd reading agreement