Will the ballast management industry get a seat at IMO and can the USCG review its approach to type-approval? Paul Gunton isn't sure.
We're just a few weeks into 2018 and already there is much to talk about – more than I can cram into my two minutes. So I will just make an association with a couple of topics that have featured on the BWTT website in January.
Talking of associations, my first is the proposal to form a Ballastwater Equipment Manufacturers Association. The idea was floated on BWTT's LinkedIn forum and it immediately attracted a broad spectrum of support.
Its founders plan to finalise some details during IMO's PPR 5 meeting, taking place as this video goes online. They have great hopes that the association will gain NGO status at IMO and to have a voice there and with a host of other regulatory bodies. I'm not sure they will get their seat at IMO but I'll wait to see its membership criteria and goals before saying more about this.
So I'll move on to this provocative headline: Type-approval discourages innovation. This wraps up a whole host of issues but they all centre round the inflexibility of the US Coast Guard's type-approval system, which is based on the specific set of components submitted for testing.
So if one component becomes unavailable, the whole kit is no longer type-approved. I spoke about this in November but this latest news item makes the point that, having spent a lot of time and money getting type-approval, there is no incentive to carry on improving the equipment because you'd have to go through the whole process again.
One suggestion put to me recently is that the Coast Guard could type-approve components separately so that, for example, if a filter needed replacing it could be swapped for another one from an approved list without affecting the ballast management system's type-approval. If anyone from the Coast Guard is watching this, tell me what's wrong with that idea.
My time's up for this month. I'd like to be able to give you a trailer for my next appearance, like they do on proper TV: Next time on BWTT … But who knows what will have happened by then? If you do, let me know.
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