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‘Finalise ballast water system guidelines’, says ICS

‘Finalise ballast water system guidelines’, says ICS
The International Chamber of Shipping has issued a statement urging IMO to finalise its revisions to its G8 guidelines “as soon as possible” to ensure owner compliance with the incoming Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention.

The convention, teetering on the brink of entry into force after Indonesia’s signing this week, now looks set to take effect from late November 2016. However, revisions to the guidelines denoting the operating standard of each system have yet to be finalised, leading to the fear that IMO-approved systems might fail Port State Control (PSC) inspections, forcing alternative technology to be fitted.

“ICS believes it is now incumbent upon IMO to finalise the revision of the G8 Type Approval Guidelines as soon as possible, in order to ensure that shipowners can have absolute confidence that the expensive equipment they will soon have to install will be effective… and be regarded as fully compliant during PSC inspections," the statement said.

The situation is compounded by that of the US, whose own BWM legislation is more stringent than that of the IMO. While IMO legislation will force compliant owners to install a system, the US Coast Guard has not yet type-approved any systems, effectively meaning that shipowners wishing to operate in the US will be forced to gamble that the system they fit, which the ICS says can cost between $1m and $5m, will be US-compliant.

“There are over 50 treatment systems approved under the current IMO regime, but worryingly fewer than 20 manufacturers have so far indicated their intent to submit their systems for US approval,” said ICS. “The conflicting IMO and US requirements could produce an impossible situation in which some ships might not be able to operate in US waters when the IMO Convention enters in force.”