Shipping braces for a bill of up to $100bn as ballast water regulation comes into force

Tomorrow sees the Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention finally come into force, something that could cost shipping as much as $100bn, according to the chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS). The regulation has been on the cards at the IMO since 2004 and has been plagued by inconsistent adoption from different national authorities.

ICS chairman Esben Poulsson said yesterday now was time to smooth out remaining kinks in the impending legislation.

“The industry may collectively need to spend around $100bn in order to install the new ballast water treatment systems that will be required by law. We therefore have to get this right,” Poulsson said.

“We need to ensure, so far as practicable, that the systems installed on ships will indeed be fit for purpose in all known operating conditions worldwide. We are therefore advising shipping companies that they should make it clear to equipment manufacturers they will only consider fitting treatment systems which have been certified in accordance with the revised IMO type-approval standards adopted in 2016, even though this is not yet a mandatory requirement,” Poulsson added.

ICS has welcomed the decision, made by IMO in July, to adjust the implementation dates of the convention, so that existing ships will not be required to install treatment systems until the date of their first International Oil Pollution Prevention (IOPP) renewal survey after September 8 2019.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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