As the International Maritime Organization’s Ballast Water Management Convention is set to enter into force in September 2017, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has urged IMO Member States to finalize the revision of the G8 Type Approval Guidelines for treatment systems.
“We must ensure that shipowners can have absolute confidence that the expensive equipment they will soon have to install will be effective in treating ballast water conditions normally encountered during worldwide operations and be regarded as fully compliant during Port State Control inspections,” ICS Chairman, Esben Poulsson, said.
“The fixing of a definite implementation date, after so many years of delay, will at least give shipowners some of the certainty needed to make important decisions about whether to refit the new mandatory treatment equipment or otherwise to start sending ships for early recycling,” he added.
ICS said there is still great uncertainty with respect to the more stringent United States approval regime for treatment equipment, which started to be enforced in January 2014.
The US regulations require all ships that discharge ballast water in US waters to use a treatment system approved by the US Coast Guard. However, because no systems have yet been approved, ships already required to comply with the US regulations have either been granted extensions to the dates for fitting the required treatment systems or else permitted to install a USCG accepted Alternate Management System (AMS), in practice a system type-approved in accordance with the current IMO Guidelines.
However, an AMS will only be accepted for operation for five years, after which time a fully USCG approved system must be installed, according to ICS. But the USCG does not guarantee that an AMS will be subsequently granted full approval. Hence shipowners that may have installed an AMS in good faith, at a cost of between USD 1-5 million per ship, might then have to replace the system completely after only 5 years.