Some shipowners who renewed their International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate (IOPPC) early to delay having to fit ballast water management systems (BWMSs) now wish they had not done so and are trying to revert to their ships' original schedules, according to Tom Kirk, director of environmental performance at class society ABS.
“Some owners that did this … are now recognising that maybe they jumped the gun,” he said during an ABS webinar exploring the outcomes and impact of last month’s IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee meeting (MEPC 71).
Because they have renewed their certificates before the convention enters into force on 8 September, the implementation schedule supported at the meeting will require them to install equipment to meet IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC) at their first IOPPC renewal after entry into force – for example on 1 July 2022 for any owner who renewed a ship's IOPPC on 1 July instead of its scheduled renewal date of, say, 1 January 2019.
Some owners with original renewal dates between 8 September 2017 and 8 September 2019 are now realising that, if they had kept with their ships' original schedules, the timetable agreed at the meeting may have given them five years beyond that renewal date: in the example above, until 1 January 2024.
Mr Kirk said that ABS is handling questions about reharmonising “on a daily basis” and recommended concerned ABS client owners to “contact us directly and we will look at their survey history and certificate validity and get them a direct answer.”
In a background note, ABS said that the possibility of reverting to the original IOPPC schedule had not been discussed at MEPC and in a subsequent email conversation with Marine Propulsion, he indicated that any decision to allow reharmonisation would be made by the ship’s flag administration, which “may allow the recognised organisation [such as ABS] to re-issue the earlier IOPP certificate” and thus defer compliance.