Retrofitting a Ballast Water Treatment System onto a bulk carrier that uses gravity discharge for the top side tanks would need to overcome major technical challenges, according to the International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners (Intercargo).
As the changes require substantial modifications to the construction of these bulk vessels, the association stressed that the regulation “should not distort the market’s level playing field.”
“The regulation in place should respect the highly capital intensive nature of the industry and avoid distorting the market’s level playing field by marginalising thousands of viable and quality bulk carriers,” the association said.
Ahead of the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee upcoming meeting (MEPC 71), Intercargo said that it will be making MEPC 71 Committee aware of the critical challenges faced by the bulk carrier segment of the industry.
“The world bulk carrier fleet is by far the largest single sector by deadweight tonnage and a significant proportion of it utilizes the highly energy efficient gravity discharge system for the topside ballast water tanks,” according to the association.
Topside tanks are an integral part of bulk carriers and by removing gravity discharge systems, their most significant advantage would be lost, namely that of high energy efficiency.
Intercargo proposes for existing bulk carriers only, the use of “extended ballast water exchange” to be implemented solely for these tanks, with the remaining ballast water treated by a system to be fitted on all vessels.