Prior to the entry into force of the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (Ballast Water Convention) on the 8th September 2017, INTERCARGO expressed its concerns about the practical problems faced by its Members, raising these concerns with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and at other fora. While it welcomed the purpose and the focus of the Convention, INTERCARGO believed that the regulatory bodies should consider the challenges faced by operators of existing bulk carriers, the largest segment of commercial shipping by deadweight tonnage.
The implementation challenges of the Convention especially relate to retrofitting ballast water management (BWM) systems on to the existing bulk carrier fleet, the performance of the systems at sea; the operating conditions of the vessel; and the levels of support available for these systems e.g. the worldwide availability of service engineers and spare parts.
In addition to the technical challenges, INTERCARGO is of the strong opinion that the regulation should respect the highly capital-intensive nature of the industry and avoid marginalising thousands of viable and quality bulk carriers by destroying the ‘level playing field’ that the industry works to promote. During consultation INTERCARGO presented this case to IMO, and whilst its position was not reflected in the final legislation, the Association welcomed the entry into force of the Ballast Water Convention. However, national governments are urged not to develop more onerous local requirements for ballast water on top of the Convention.
INTERCARGO remains concerned about the practical problems faced by the dry bulk sector and has encouraged its Members to work closely with manufacturers to achieve effective implementation of the Convention. INTERCARGO invited and finally welcomed the establishment of an association of their own for this purpose. INTERCARGO remains committed to investigating the ongoing practical problems in retrofitting existing dry bulk ships with BWM systems and the operation of these systems.