Shipping faces a global bill of about US$100Bn to fit ballast water management systems, now that IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention has come into force, according to the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS).
In a statement, ICS chairman Esben Poulsson said that, in view of the size of the investment, “we therefore have to get this right” and urged shipowners, equipment manufacturers and governments to co-operate “to ensure that proper implementation of this significant new regulatory regime will deliver maximum environment benefit”.
Mr Poulsson said that ICS is advising shipping companies that they should “make it clear to equipment manufacturers they will only consider fitting treatment systems which have been certified in accordance with the revised IMO type-approval standards adopted in 2016, even though this is not yet a mandatory requirement.”
This is to ensure, “so far as practicable, that the systems installed on ships will indeed be fit for purpose in all known operating conditions worldwide,” he said.
ICS has previously welcomed the decision by IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee in July to delay the convention’s implementation dates for existing ships until the date of their first International Oil Pollution Prevention (IOPP) renewal survey after 8 September 2019 and Mr Poulsson described that decision this week as a “pragmatic approach” that reflected “the arguments made by ICS and other industry associations that there is little logic, from an environmental protection standpoint, in requiring thousands of ships to comply until they can be fitted with systems that have been approved under the more stringent standards.”
He warned shipowners that they “should not anticipate any further relaxation to the implementation schedule” and encouraged them to “make full use of this additional time to identify and invest in far more robust technology to the benefit of the environment.”
He also indicated a change in ICS policy, saying that the organisation “was previously ambivalent about encouraging flag states to ratify the BWM Convention in advance of some serious implementation issues being fully resolved. But now … in recognition of the actions agreed by IMO, ICS is now encouraging all IMO member states to ratify as soon as possible.”