216/17/Gen.Inf. INTERCARGO: In search of answers on BWM practical problems


INTERCARGO says there are significant problems with the implementation of the Ballast Water Management regulation that need to be resolved immediately, considering that the Convention will be effective in less than five months.

In particular, the Association expresses its concerns about the practical problems faced by its members for retrofitting the existing dry bulk ships with Ballast Water Treatment Systems (BWTS) in two papers submitted for consideration at the next meeting of the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 71) in July 2017

INTERCARGO believes that the BMW Regulation should take into account the challenges faced by the existing bulk carriers, the largest segment of world shipping by deadweight tonnage. A newbuilding vessel case is totally different to retrofitting an existing vessel, while a bulk carrier has unique requirements to those of other ship types.

Therefore, IMO MEPC needs to take into consideration at the next meeting, July 2017, two important papers submitted:

1. Paper MEPC 71/4/19 (submitted by INTERCARGO and InterManager) – Challenges faced by bulk carrier owners and operators: The challenges concern retrofitting BWTS on those vessels that use gravity discharged Top Side Tanks and the paper makes a practical proposal to accommodate the use of these specific tanks, which is complementary to and notwithstanding the Committee’s discussion on the timeline for implementation of the BWM Convention.
2. Paper MEPC 71/INF.20 (submitted by INTERCARGO) – Information on the technical and operational challenges of retrofitting ballast water treatment systems on existing bulk carriers: This paper describes some of the other challenges (such as additional electrical powering requirements and availability of space) faced by the bulk carrier industry.

INTERCARGO explains that the list of challenges varies from the aforementioned incompatibility of the highly energy efficient gravity discharge, power and space requirements, and ballasting capacity to the availability of systems approved by the United States Coast Guard (USCG). The industry would, therefore, welcome a more flexible and pragmatic transition from the first USCG approved BWTS being disclosed in December 2016, until more proficient technologies and approved systems are made available. This will be assisted by the revised IMO G8 guidelines being brought closer to the USCG’s testing regime and the USCG granting extended compliance dates.

The INTERCARGO Secretariat has recently produced an open article on BWM, providing its insights on the current relevant developments on the implementation of the IMO BWM Convention and US legislation.



Thank you & Best Regards,

Eng. Dimitrios Nikolaos Spanos
Lead Maritime Auditor / Principal Surveyor
Member of IRCA, IIMS, ELINT, HELMEPA & Nautical Institute

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