The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has urged the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to support a proposal from a broad coalition of governments regarding implementation dates for the installation of ballast water treatment systems.
ICS secretary general Peter Hinchliffe said: “If this pragmatic proposal is agreed, this would allow shipping companies to identify and invest in far more robust technology to the benefit of the marine environment.”
ICS also claims that IMO’s decision on the implementation dates will impact around 40,000 existing ships.
The dates are expected to be decided by a meeting of the Marine Environment Protection Committee during the first week of July, just two months before the IMO Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention enters into force on 8 September.
It is further noted that the present draft of BWM Convention requires existing ships to retrofit the complex ballast water treatment systems by their first International Oil Pollution Prevention (IOPP) survey, following the worldwide implementation of the new regulations.
Brazil, the Cook Islands, India, Norway, Liberia and the UK have offered a proposal to delay the implementation of BWM Convention for existing ships, which would push back the date they are required to start fitting ballast water management systems by a further two years to the date of their first IOPP renewal survey, on or after 8 September 2019.
This would extend the date that ships must have installed the system onboard by from the originally planned 2022 to 2024.
Hinchliffe added: “It is vital that IMO makes a definite decision about the implementation schedule at its meeting in July, so that shipping companies have absolute clarity and can take sensible decisions about when to install these high cost systems in the best interests of the environment.”
ICS and its member national shipowners’ associations have supported the proposal offered by the coalition of governments.