Intertanko plans to submit ballast water contingency measures to IMO

The International Association of Independent Tanker Owners, or Intertanko, have come up with a standard procedure on how port-states should respond when a tanker’s ballast water management system is not working and plans to submit the procedure to the International Maritime Organization, Intertanko director Tim Wilkins told S&P Global Platts Thursday.

Since the Ballast Water Management Convention came into force last September, port-states have not been homogeneous in dealing with contingencies where ship operators were unable to carry out ballast water exchange, Wilkins said.

“What’s happened in the last six months, [is that] it has exposed some of the shortcomings in the technology, the type of crew technology and the readiness of port states to react uniformly in dealing with these situations,” he said.

According to Intertanko, 60% of its members which have installed BWM systems, have reported of the difficulty in operating them, or that the system does not work.

The organisation has 205 members, whose combined fleet comprise some 3,805 tankers.

While the International Maritime Organisation has said that port-states can deal with such situations on a case-by-case basis, Intertanko said a uniform approach would make the shipping industry more efficient.

“A lot of time is being used to fix these systems…what we are trying to do is have an industry standard that the member states of IMO can accept in a more practical and operational way,” Wilkins said.

Intertanko has drawn up nine contingency measures, among which include fixing the BWM system at the ballast loading port, fixing the system enroute to the port, performing a mid-ocean ballast water exchange, or retain ballast water onboard.

Intertanko says it will require its members to show port authorities why the system failed, provide a history of the maintenance of the system, and whether efforts have been made to liaise with manufacturers on getting the system fixed.

“That way there’s transparency when we go to all the ports in the world,” Wilkins said.

Ships take on ballast water at port or at sea to maintain stability and minimize stress on the hull. But when they dispose the water at another port, it introduces bacteria and non-native aquatic organisms in the local marine environment.

The International Maritime Organization’s Ballast Water Management Convention came into force on September 8, 2017 with the aim of mitigating this transfer.

Under the Convention, ships are required, according to a timetable of implementation, to comply with the D1 or D2 standards.

The D1 standard requires ships to carry out a ballast water exchange, and specifies the volume of water that must be replaced. This standard involves exchanging the discharge water taken from the last port, with new sea water. The exchange must occur at a minimum of 200 nautical miles from shore.

The D2 standard is more stringent and requires the use of an approved ballast water treatment system. The system must ensure that only small levels of viable organisms remain left in water after treatment so as to minimise the environmental impact of shipping.

New ships will be required to install and comply with the D2 standard from September 8, 2017. Existing ships, which are subject to the phased implementation schedule, have potentially, depending on the renewal of their ship certificates, until September 8, 2024, by which time all ships will comply with the D2 standard.

Source: Platts

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