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Denmark-China’s ballast MoU will lead to wider co-operation

Thu 12 Oct 2017 by Paul Gunton

Denmark-China’s ballast MoU will lead to wider co-operation
Klaus Rostell (left) of Danish Maritime and Li Yanqing of SICC signed the MoU in China last month

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed last month between the Danish industry body Danish Maritime and the Shipbuilding Information Centre of China (SICC) to work together on ballast treatment development will lead to wider links between the countries’ maritime technology sectors.

Speaking to BWTT yesterday (11 October), Danish Maritime managing director Jenny Braat described the MoU as the first step towards stronger co-operation between the two countries “on green shipping, environment-friendly equipment and safety [matters].”

The MoU was signed on 13 September at the end of a ballast treatment technology conference in Qingdao, China, by Danish Maritime’s international director Klaus Rostell and SICC director Li Yanqing.

Its text is not being made public, Ms Braat said, describing it as an agreement “at a political level”. It is now up to industry members “to find areas where they can co-operate,” she said, and reported strong interest from both sides of the agreement that she believes could lead to technical co-operation between Danish and Chinese companies.

One of Denmark’s ballast water management system manufacturers, Bawat, welcomed the agreement. In a statement circulated by Danish Maritime, its chief executive Kim Diederichsen said it would “pave the way for broader co-operation, thus improving access to a part of the market which is difficult to access.” One of the company’s senior managers had addressed the Qingdao conference and Mr Diederichsen said that the contacts made marked “the first steps towards a better relationship” with the various Chinese organisations involved in the event.

Ms Braat also expects the agreement to address enforcement of IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention, in particular requiring checks that systems are working as they should. Port state control on its own is not sufficient, she suggested, calling for checks to be made either on board or whenever a ship arrives at a port “to be sure that everyone is actually living up to the regulation.”

“It’s one thing to make good products but you also need to be sure … there will be proper enforcement that the systems sailing around are actually living up to the [convention’s] demands,” she said. Otherwise, “it will be quite expensive for the ones following the regulations compared to the ones not following it.” She hopes that the MoU with China will help to improve enforcement; “that is one of the thoughts behind the agreement,” she said.

The MoU builds on an earlier agreement made between the two countries at government level in 2014 and renewed in February this year, Mr Rostell said during the signing ceremony.

Both countries’ governments had encouraged industry partners to co-operate on green shipbuilding and maritime technology along with offshore equipment, he said, and ballast water treatment “is the first area where we will begin our co-operation.” Mr Li welcomed Denmark’s support, calling it “a recipe for success.”

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