Ship managers and shipowners have welcomed last week’s decision by IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) to support later compliance dates for ballast water discharge standards.
Speaking to BWTT, the secretary general of the ship managers’ organisation InterManager, Kuba Szymanski, said that “pragmatism has won”. He hoped that, through this decision, “we could learn a valuable lesson – that co-operation is what creates win-win situations.”
He had invited some of the organisation’s members to offer their views and he passed on two of their initial comments, without naming the companies that had made them. One said the delay would be welcomed “by the whole shipping community and by those who really care about environment, excluding the ones who have a commercial interest [such as] makers, yards and class.”
Another had hoped that the revised compliance date would have simply been set as the first IOPPC survey renewal on or after 8 September 2019. Otherwise, he believes it is unfair “to the shipowners who made decisions for de-harmonisation of [their] IOPPC due to a lack of information and the age of their fleet.”
The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) issued a statement today (10 July) quoting its director of policy, Simon Bennett, who described MEPC’s decision as “a victory for common sense that will allow shipping companies to identify and invest in far more robust technology to the benefit of the environment.”
It has given the industry “the clarity it needs to get on with the job and make the global implementation of this important piece of legislation a success,” Mr Bennett said.
BWTT asked Mr Bennett how many systems should be type-approved to the revised G8 standards to give him the greater confidence he is looking for. He replied that ICS was confident that, “by the time when most existing ships are required to fit treatment equipment, sufficient numbers of systems will have been approved.”
We also asked whether, if that situation were not achieved by 2019, ICS would be pushing for a further delay, to which he replied: “No further changes to the implementation schedule should be anticipated and shipowners should plan accordingly. The BWMC is about to enter into force and implementation will now proceed as agreed by last week’s MEPC.”
The delay will mean that more systems are available that meet the G8 guidelines, which were amended last year. As a result, he said, “the industry should have greater confidence that the systems ships are required to install will indeed be fit for purpose in all operating conditions worldwide, which was not the case with several of the systems approved using the old IMO guidelines.”
A ballast water treatment consultant, Jad Mouawad, told BWTT that the new compliance schedule “provides an opportunity for all parties to prepare well to a now-fixed dates agreement.” Even though “it might be negative in the short term for manufacturers and engineering companies,” he said, it will be positive in the long term because it will “allow shipowners, manufacturers and engineering companies to get systems working properly by the time the convention requires systems to be fitted.
• BWTT has also canvassed views from a number of manufacturers.