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Plague of regulation helping neither seafarers or the environment

Plague of regulation helping neither seafarers or the environment
The influential Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee (GSCC) has attacked the plague “of new laws and legislation that, whilst well-meaning, do not actually better the lot of the seafarer, the environment or the shipping industry in general”.

Chairman of the London-based GSCC, Haralambos Fafalios has gone so far as to describe the Ballast Water Management Convention as "a deeply flawed IMO convention". He also said system makers do not understand the limitations of existing ships.

Prefacing the committee’s 80th annual report, Fafalios said developments in the US are not proceeding swiftly enough in order to comply with approved BWT system installation by 1 January 2016.

"This will lead to huge uncertainty for both existing vessels that have to be retrofitted in the future as well as possible upgrading by the 'early movers'". He said: "Uncertainty also exists for the Imo approved systems with respect to the type approval procedures and sampling of treated ballast water," adding, "A particularly difficult decision has to be made for vessels 15 years and older as of January 1."

Fafalios said that "despite the plethora of IMO approved systems, it has become apparent many existing vessels have neither the space nor the electrical generator power to support the BWT retrofits”.

"The system designers have shown their extremely limited practical knowledge of the ballast system design and operation, for vessels in the existing fleet. This lack of knowledge renders retrofit of most of the approved systems to be physically unrealistic," said Fafalios.

He said while the world economy seems to be progressing positively, though “there are many regional problems which will need addressing”, the shipping industry is in a position of some instability and not really willing or able to enforce legislation which would increase its operating costs substantially.

However, on air emissions, he felt the industry's move to low sulphur fuels has commenced with generally positive results.

He said it is highly regrettable the EU and IMO's MRV's will not be common. "Shipping's plea for a single standard has been disregarded in political circles leading to confusion and increased workload for seafarers and shore staff."

Despite the huge efforts applied to date by both IACS and the shipping industry, much work still remains to be done on Harmonised Common Structural Rules (H-CSR,) in order to produce a clear and unambiguous rule set for both shipyards and shipowners.

"The current state of affairs means the first vessels to be constructed to the H-CSR standard, are likely to be approved to a different set of rules to those built later when it is hoped all industry comments will be incorporated into the final G-CSR rules" said Fafalios.