THE International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) is calling on all parties to work together towards the successful implementation of the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention, due to come into force on September 8.
ICS chairman Esben Poulsson said the industry may need to collectively spend some US$100bn to install the new ballast water treatment systems that will be required by law.
“We therefore have to get this right,” he said.
Mr Poulsson has called on shipowners, equipment manufacturers and governments to co-operate to ensure that proper implementation of the new regulatory regime delivers maximum environmental benefit.
“We need 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.
“We are therefore 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.”
The ICS also welcomed the decision (made by the IMO in July) to adjust the implementation dates of the Convention, so existing ships would not be required to install treatment systems until the date of their first International Oil Pollution Prevention renewal survey after September 8, 2019.
“We acknowledge the pragmatic approach to implementation taken by IMO member states who accepted 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,” Mr Poulsson said.
He continued, saying shipowners must take full use of the additional time to identify and invest in far more robust technology to the benefit of the environment.
“And, in view of the significant concessions that IMO has now made in response to the industry’s representations, shipping companies should not anticipate any further relaxation to the implementation schedule,” he said.
ICS had been ambivalent about encouraging flag states to ratify the BWM Convention before implementation issues were fully resolved. However, now that the Convention is about to enter into force, the Chamber is encouraging all IMO member states to ratify as soon as possible.
A statement from ICS reads, “ICS believes that as a result of the industry’s intensive efforts to explain its implementation challenges to regulators, shipowners will hopefully now have the clarity needed to get on with the job.”