The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (Ballast Water Convention) entered into force on the 8th September 2017. The relatively recent entry into force of the Convention, involving new regulations and the fitting and operation of equipment that had previously not been used on ships has led, unsurprisingly, to a number of challenges.
The implementation challenges of the Convention especially relate to the performance of ballast water treatment systems, the operating conditions and locations of vessels, and the global coverage of technical support for the systems involved. It is important to note that while ships are certified for global trade, many of the available systems are not certified or able to perform in all locations and conditions that vessels may trade in, and this is particularly true for the bulk carrier fleet.
INTERCARGO is currently working with various stakeholders, including the treatment system manufacturers, with the aim of providing solutions to some of the issues that are affecting the bulk carrier fleet. As part of this work, INTERCARGO has co-sponsored several papers to IMO on topics such as extending the experience building phase and operating in challenging water quality. It is also hoped that these ongoing discussions at the IMO will also contribute to solving some of the other ballast water management issues faced by ship operators.
A holistic approach to regulations is also important. Shipping is trying to decarbonise which in the short term to midterm will mean finding efficiencies and ultimately using less power. However, regulations such as the Ballast Water Management Convention effectively require vessels to use more power and thus produce more emissions, leading to a situation where one environmental regulation potentially has a negative effect on another environmental regulation. The regulators should recognise the consequences of all regulations and how they may impact each other.