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Cyprus Minister puts BWM Convention in firing line in call for goal-based regulation

Cyprus Minister puts BWM Convention in firing line in call for goal-based regulation
Cyprus’ Minister of Transport, Communication and Works Marios Demetriades has called on shipping to adopt goal based regulations rather than prescriptive ones, highlighting the failures of the Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention expected to be ratified shortly.

Speaking at the Marintec China 2015 Senior Maritime Forum Demetriades noted that the BWM Convention was adopted in 2004 after two decades of research and regulatory and political activity.

“Today more than 11 years after the adoption there is still little confidence in the capability of type-approved equipment to perform satisfactorily under operational conditions. Manufacturers warrant that their equipment will work as prescribed but no guarantees are given that samples taken that have been treated with their equipment will be compliant,” he stated.

“Moreover the measures adopted by the US for the type approval of their equipment complicated the situation more leaving leaving the owners of ships unable to make long term investment decisions.”

His assessment of the convention was blunt: “The Ballast Water Management [Convention] is a classic example of regulatory compliance driven regulation that failed terribly to deliver the anticipated results.”

Instead Demetriades called on regulation for international shipping to be goal based rather than prescriptive.

“Global regulation for shipping should avoid as much as possible prescriptive regulation, prescriptive regulation is inclined to hamper innovation casting in stone the best engineering practice at the time they were written without taking into consideration evolving technologies. In fact in many cases it is quite possible prescriptive regulations eventually prevent the industry from adopting current best practice. Modern global shipping regulations should follow the goal based approach,” Demetriades explained.

“Goal based regulation does not specify the means needed for compliance but set goals that allow alternative ways of compliance,” he said.

“The purpose of regulation is set out clear rules for the industry so that all parties can understand in advance what is required. Regulations must be carefully drafted and equally implemented across the industry in order to balance an achievement of public safety, consumer protection and business profits.”