IMO Scribe Ki-Tack-Lim

The shipping industry may collectively need to spend around $100billion in order to install the new ballast water treatment systems required by law, in order to become compliant with the Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention, which became effective.

The convention initiated by the International Maritime Organisation IMO, requires that ships will manage their ballast water to remove, render harmless, or avoid the uptake or discharge of aquatic organisms and pathogens within ballast water and sediments. The new treaty marks a landmark step towards halting the spread of invasive aquatic species, which can cause havoc for local ecosystem, affect biodiversity, and lead to substantial economic losses.

The treaty had earlier been estimated to unlock an unprecedented private sector investment of about $30billion over the next few years.

However, a recent report by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), said the industry would need to invest about $100billion to meet the requirement of the treaty.

Worried about the development, Chairman, ICS, Esben Poulsson, called on ship-owners, equipment manufacturers and governments to cooperate to ensure that proper implementation of this significant new regulatory regime will deliver maximum environment benefit.

“We need to ensure, so far as practicable, that the systems installed on ships will indeed be fit for purpose in all known operating conditions worldwide. We are therefore advising shipping companies that they should make it clear to equipment manufacturers they will only consider fitting treatment systems, which have been certified in accordance with the revised IMO type-approval standards adopted in 2016, even though this is not yet a mandatory requirement.”

The IMO had in July, adjusted the implementation dates of the Convention so that existing ships (ships constructed before September 8) will not be required to install treatment systems until their first International Oil Pollution Prevention (IOPP) renewal survey after September 8, 2019.

“We acknowledge the pragmatic approach to implementation taken by IMO member states, who accepted the arguments made by ICS and other industry associations that there is little logic, from an environmental protection standpoint, in requiring thousands of ships to comply until they can be fitted with systems that have been approved under the more stringent standards,” Poulsson explained.

“Ship-owners must make full use of this additional time to identify and invest in far more robust technology to the benefit of the environment.”

“And in view of the significant concessions that IMO has now made in response to the industry’s representations, shipping companies should not anticipate any further relaxation to the implementation schedule,” he added

ICS added that it believes that as a result of the industry’s intensive efforts to explain its implementation challenges to regulators, ship owners will hopefully now have the clarity needed to get on with the job.

Also commenting, the Secretary-General, IMO, Kitack Lim, said: “The entry into force of the Ballast Water Management Convention will not only minimise the risk of invasion by alien species via ballast water, it will also provide a global level playing field for international shipping, providing clear and robust standards for management of ballast water on ships.”

Source: The Guardian