Ballast Water Management - A Major Dilemma

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

May 12, 2015

Pic: National Institute of Oceanography (NIO)

Pic: National Institute of Oceanography (NIO)

 The shipping industry, despite those who might suggest otherwise, has a very respectable record of environmental improvement stretching back very many years. It responds to societal demands to clear up pollution, to eliminate harmful emissions and operate in a more sustainable manner. 

But in its response, it consistently points out that the need of a global industry is world-wide implementation of regulations and that the International Maritime Organization must be regarded as the vehicle for all regulatory change.
BIMCO has pointed out time and time over the years that unilateral or regional regulations make the operation of ships in world-wide trading both expensive and impractical. Shipping will do all that is asked of it, so long as this is reasonable and international.
For some time, BIMCO, in conjunction with its Round Table partners International Chamber of Shipping, Intertanko and Intercargo has been warning about the problems of a realistic implementation schedule for the international convention to regulate ships’ ballast water. 
There is no sense that the industry is trying to delay the process or that it regards the aims of the convention, to prevent the transfer of invasive species and pathogens in ballast water, as anything other than valid and necessary.
The problem is solely that of implementation and the concerns that this convention might enter into force next year, with the owners of some 50,000 ships having to fit compliant equipment costing between $1m and $5m to their vessels. 
The Round Table has now reiterated its concern, with the US system of approval for this equipment different to that of the IMO regime, pointing out that owners who have spent heavily to fit IMO approved equipment, may find that this fails to fulfill the requirements of the USCG testing regime and this expensive investment will have to be replaced within five years in order to continue to trade in US waters.
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