In view of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee upcoming meeting (MEPC 71), on 3-7 July, INTERCARGO reiterates its welcoming the entry into force of the Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention in September and stresses the potential impacts of its implementation on bulk carriers, suggesting that the regulation should respect the nature of the industry.
The Association will be making MEPC 71 Committee aware of the critical challenges faced by the bulk carrier segment of the industry. The world bulk carrier fleet is by far the largest single sector by deadweight tonnage and a significant proportion of it utilizes the highly energy efficient gravity discharge system for the topside ballast water tanks. Topside tanks are an integral part of bulk carriers.
However, retrofitting a Ballast Water Treatment System onto a bulk carrier that uses gravity discharge for the Top Side Tanks would need to overcome major technical challenges. The changes require substantial modifications to the construction of these bulk vessels. By removing gravity discharge systems, their most significant advantage would be lost, namely that of high energy efficiency.
INTERCARGO proposes for existing bulk carriers only, the use of “extended ballast water exchange” to be implemented solely for these tanks, with the remaining ballast water treated by a system to be fitted on all vessels. The regulation in place should respect the highly capital intensive nature of the industry and avoid distorting the market’s level playing field by marginalising thousands of viable and quality bulk carriers. In this respect, INTERCARGO sees the above proposal as pragmatic and constructive.