The MEPC approved a proposal to designate specific portions of the coastal waters of the United States and Canada as an Emission Control Area (ECA). The ECA would be for the control of emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur oxides (SOx), and particulate matter, under the revised MARPOL Annex VI Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships, which was adopted in October 2008 and is expected to come into force on 1 July 2010.

The draft amendments to the revised MARPOL Annex VI concerning the proposed ECA will be submitted to MEPC 60 (March 2010) for adoption (i.e. after the deemed acceptance date of the revised MARPOL Annex VI on 1 January 2010).

Currently, the revised Annex lists two areas for the control of SOx emissions: the Baltic Sea area and the North Sea, which includes the English Channel.