ICS urges IMO to support two-year delay to BWM implementation

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has asked global regulator International Maritime Organization (IMO) to support a proposal from Brazil, Cook Islands, India, Norway, Liberia and the UK that would see the implementation dates for installing new ballast water treatment systems postponed.

“If this pragmatic proposal is agreed, this would allow shipping companies to identify and invest in far more robust technology to the benefit of the marine environment,” said ICS Secretary General, Peter Hinchliffe.

ICS said that the IMO decision on dates, to be taken by a meeting of the Marine Environment Protection Committee during the first week of July – just two months before the entry into force of the IMO Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention on 8 September 2017 – would be critical, having significant implications for around 40,000 existing ships.

As currently drafted the BWM Convention will require existing ships to retrofit the new systems before their first International Oil Pollution Prevention (IOPP) survey following the global entry into force of the new regulations.

The proposed change to the timetable would see implementation delayed for existing ships by pushing back by two years the date they are required to start fitting BWM systems, to when the vessels have their first IOPP renewal survey on or after September 8th 2019. This would extend the date by which all ships must have installed a system to 2024 from 2022.

ICS claimed that, from an environmental protection standpoint, there was no logic in requiring thousands of ships in the existing fleet to comply until they could be fitted with systems that had been approved under the more stringent type-approval standards which were only adopted by IMO in 2016. ICS said that these more environmentally robust standards would not become mandatory for new system approvals until October 2018 and that only systems being installed into ships from October 2020 would be required to have been approved in accordance with the new Code.

ICS noted that, because of a lack of confidence in the existing IMO type-approval process, and the previous uncertainty as to when the Convention would enter into force, very few existing ships had so far been retrofitted with the required treatment systems. This had created a log jam in available yard capacity.

ICS said that shipping companies potentially would be required to install expensive new equipment that might not be guaranteed to operate correctly in all of the normal operating conditions they would reasonably be expected to face when ballasting and de-ballasting during worldwide service. “These decisions are all the more difficult if the ships are approaching the end of their typical 25-year life”, ICS said. http://www.ics-shipping.org/news/press-releases/2017/06/19/imo-needs-to-finalise-ballast-water-implementation-dates