Dockyards Likely to Be Clogged by 2020 amid BWMC Uncertainty

Image Courtesy: IMO

Dockyard and classification societies are likely to encounter a bottleneck in 2020 as numerous shipowners have decided to complete their International Oil Pollution Prevention (IOPP) renewal survey due to uncertainties on IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention, the UK Chamber of Shipping said.

In this way, shipowners would conduct the IOPP survey ahead of the original survey schedule to postpone the installation of treatment systems on their vessels as much as possible once the convention is in force.

However, the convention still has many amendments that need to be agreed prior to its entry into force, which are expected to near finalisation during the two IMO meetings in April and October this year.

“Time is of essence for the industry to properly plan, but there is no reassurance of when and on whether any proposed amendments will happen,” UK Chamber of Shipping said.

Besides the IMO’s pending legislation, the uncertainty is also related to the US’s position which could define the future of the effective implementation of the Convention.

“The lack of USCG type approval systems is a major obstacle to decision making for the industry and even a potential game-changer. And if that is not enough, the US veto on the “grandfathering clause” makes it extremely difficult to see light at the end of the tunnel,” UK Chamber of Shipping added.

Once the convention is in force, the shipping industry would encounter difficult decisions on which system to fit, as the US has still not accept UV systems.

The IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention has now almost gained sufficient ratification to come into force, and will do so in 2017, with the latest signatory parties Belgium and Fiji, bringing the number of states to 49, with the aggregate remaining at 34.82% of the world’s merchant fleet tonnage.

“The remaining 0.18% tonnage will not be difficult to meet within the next one or two months, introducing the industry to a tsunami of compliance costs and uncertainties,” UK Chamber of Shipping said.

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